Hearts of the Innocent
There’s a clean, revitalizing edge to Kutless’ sound that belies their roots in post-grunge rock. Hearts of the Innocent (2006) manages to cut a little deeper than past releases, moving beyond angst-ridden musings into the subtleties of spiritual hunger and doubt. While singer Jon Micah Sumrall invites comparisons with Eddie Vedder and Scott Stapp in these tracks, his vocal presence radiates a combination of authority and gentleness that’s very much his own. As a songwriter, his darkly introspective “Mistakes” and “Changing World” provide contrast to the hopeful reverence of “Smile” and “Somewhere in the Sky.” The band shows real ferocity on metal-infused exercises like “Beyond the Surface” and “Million Dollar Man,” with guitarist Ryan Shrout raining down searing guitar fire. “Legacy,” the album’s closing tune, hits a resonant note of brotherhood that sums up the album’s message. Hearts of the Innocent asks meaningful questions of faith even as its rocks relentlessly.