Who We Are is the fourth release from California-based rockers Lifehouse. Forever famous for their hit ‘Hanging By A Moment’, which was the most requested song of 2001, Lifehouse has struggled over their previous two albums to live up to the brilliance of their first release. However, Who We Are is different and really cements Lifehouse as more than a one-hit wonder group.
In Lifehouse’s own words, Who We Are rocks a little harder than Lifehouse (their self-title third release) and this is clear from the first track, ‘Disarray’. It is probably one of the most edgy songs that Lifehouse has released and makes a very good start to the new album. The sound is a lot like something from the Feelers or the Foo Fighters which is a big change from Lifehouse’s generally more mellow sound.
The first single from the new album is ‘First Time’ but I actually think this track is one of the worst on the album – it is just a catchy tune and does not distinguish the band from any other rock group. This same style and theme is evident throughout the next two songs, ‘Whatever It Takes’ and title-track ‘Who We Are’.
Track five ‘Broken’ is really where the album picks up, and makes Who We Are Lifehouse’s best release since debut album No Name Face. The style of ‘Broken’ is very similar to No Name Face’s ‘Everything’. The music is very quiet and Jason Wade’s vocals really stand out. The song describes how messed up and broken Wade is and how God can see through that and heal him. The song is one of the most spiritually-themed from Lifehouse and will once again stir up debate about whether Lifehouse are or are not a Christian band.
The next five tracks sound a lot like those that appeared on No Name Face, but with a little more experimentation in the backing instruments. No one song really stands out here, but all are a good listen. Who We Are closes with two final tracks that are similar in style to ‘Broken’. ‘Learn You Inside Out’ is the more rocky of the two and has a style similar to Coldplay. Final track ‘Storm’ is a remake of their very first release, ‘Diff’s Lucky Day’, when the band was still called Blyss. Like ‘Broken’, ‘Storm’ strips away the instruments and again focuses on Wade’s vocals. It is also spiritually-themed and describes a situation similar to the New Testament story of Peter walking on water, sinking and Jesus helping him out.
Overall, Who We Are is Lifehouse at their very best. They have returned to their roots and the style that made No Name Face such a brilliant album. I came close to giving the album five stars, but several of the earlier tracks stopped me and are the only real let down of the album.