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OBB Makes Its Move

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With a major label deal, top-notch production, and a radio-friendly sound, Atlanta-based trio OBB (pronounced oh-bee-bee, as in Oswald Brothers Band) seems to be positioning itself as a fresh face to watch within the world of Christian music.

While new to the scene, OBB has laid some groundwork to this point. First tapped as part of a talent competition for CBS’ Early Show in 2009, the band – composed of brothers Zach, 21, Jacob, 19, and Nicholas Oswald, 18 – has spent the past few years polishing its act on the road, writing original material, and gaining the attention of the venerable Nashville label Curb. The result is a six-song EP released in January obviously designed to capitalize on the band’s burgeoning national following, which is sure to get a boost from its current placement on the multi-artist Winter Jam mega-tour.

There’s no doubt the brothers possess talent. The performances on OBB are poised and engaging throughout, and the songwriting is competent and, at times, fresh. Produced by Justin Ebach, who shares songwriting credits on all the songs, the EP is full of radio-ready pop-rockers and power ballads. The sound tends more toward AC radio (think Mercy Me or Jeremy Camp) than one might expect from a trio who recently left high school behind, and the themes explored are generally mature, dealing with spiritual searching or questions of faith. In that regard, one can either see OBB as a product carefully constructed by A&R guys for maximum accessibility, or as the artistic output of a trio of young men with a maturity beyond their years.

Either way, there are several highlights on the EP. Opener “All I Need is You” features a wriggling electric guitar part and soaring backing vocals. “Come on Home” has more of a ballad feel, with a compelling chorus and a memorable vocal performance. Also memorable is “Wildfire,” its chorus bursting into the steady two of danceable pop on the lyrics: “I want to be light/I want to burn bright/Spreading hope like/wildfire.” And EP bonus track “Beautiful Ride” is a thudding acoustic number that rounds out the EP nicely.

*This Review First Published 3/13/2013 on www.crosswalk.com

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