for KING & COUNTRY
About for KING & COUNTRY
For KING & COUNTRY very well could be CCM’s first post-genre band. Of course, other Christian artists have mixed and matched various styles of music; TobyMac and Switchfoot certainly are standouts. But none have been so impossible to categorize as the duo of Joel and Luke Smallbone, whose persistently life-affirming sound draws from just about every genre imaginable—not just pop and rock, but hip-hop, EDM, and R&B as well. The Australian brothers, whose family relocated to Nashville when they were still kids, got their start in CCM providing backing vocals for their big sister, singer/songwriter Rebecca St. James. The experience offered them an education on how to merge faith with music-making, so much so that by the time they released their debut album, 2012’s Crave, they sounded like seasoned musicians who knew exactly what they were doing. The songs reveal spiritual depth, the hooks are sharp, and already the brothers’ gift for transcending genre is apparent on the Coldplay-inspired “Busted Heart (Hold On to Me),” a lush orchestral ballad that would set off a string of hit singles, each one seemingly more ambitious and expansive than the last. That run, one of the most successful of the 2010s, culminated with the blockbuster singles “joy.,” a bit of triumphant gospel powered by a skittering club beat, and “God Only Knows,” which steers CCM into the hazy synthesizers and vocal effects of trap music (a vibe further accentuated on a follow-up remix, which featured a cameo from none other than country icon Dolly Parton). It’s precisely this boldness in production and songwriting that has established for KING & COUNTRY as real game changers in terms of reimagining CCM for the 21st century.