Review: Hyland – Finding Our Way (2012)
Ever since I heard of Hyland on RadioU’s Battle of the Buzz show and subsequently saw them perform at the 2009 Alive Festival in Ohio as an independent band, I knew they had big things coming their way. After the band signed to Tooth and Nail Records and saw airplay on the radio of their hits “This Love is Free” and “Jumping the Gun,” I and a myriad of other hopefuls were left wanting by the mixed bag that was their debut major label release Weights and Measures. When they decided to pull a Sanctus Real and move more toward an adult contemporary sound there may or may not have been an inward groan from yours truly. In the case of Finding Our Way though, that may have been the right move for the band. Was shedding some of their alternative roots a good move? Quite possibly.
“Power and Love” sets the tone for the album with a hook that appeals to both sides of Hyland’s fan base right off the bat. There seems to be a hint of auto-tune, but it is not overdone. “Wondering and Waiting” continues in this vein, crafting a pensive but optimistic song wondering about purpose in life. “Beauty in the Broken” is tailor made for Christian radio, but is frankly above average when it comes to its cohorts also receiving lots of airplay. “Brothers” somewhat awkwardly explores the central theme of the record, finding our way as we go (who knew) with a persistent club-like melody in the background. “Calm in the Storm” takes a turn toward New Wave influence but pulls it off surprisingly well. “More Than Famous” returns us back into Christian Contemporary Radio territory. Despite this, the song has grown into a personal favorite. Maybe it is the fact that it reminds me of Remedy Drive a bit. “Work in Progress” is a shorter tune carried by some whimsical whistling (like the alliteration?) and “Lucky in Love,” despite not being the best on the album, has some memorable vocal acrobatics. “Well Done” and “Never Fails You” bring the record to a close in a way that will be satisfying to Hyland’s target demographic, but isn’t particularly memorable. All in all, Hyland are shaping to be an influential band in youth group/church tour/Christian radio circuit. I wouldn’t recommend this album to just anyone, but it ultimately is up to you, the reader/listener to decide which group you fit into.