Through the effortless delivery of heartfelt lyrics and his signature rich textured vocal, Warren Barfield examines all areas and seasons of his life. It's this candid approach that draws the listener in as they explore their own faith. Reach, Warren's second album, includes "I'll Be Alright," "Head Held High," "Come Alive," and more.
Format: Compact disc Vendor: Provident Music Distribution
Over two years after his debut, Warren Barfield returns with a new label home (Essential) and a new album, Reach. The time between projects has allowed Barfield to hone his skills and solidify his musical identity. His freshman project cast him in the musical shadow of Steven Curtis Chapman, though the work was marked by some standout lyrical moments. On Reachproduced by Marshall Altman (Marc Broussard)Barfield is clearly more confident, vocally and musically; unfortunately, the album lacks the memorable lyrical marks of its predecessor.
The biggest change for Barfield is his shift towards a bluesy, acoustic pop/rock style, similar to Gavin DeGraw. Ill Be Alright kicks off the album and showcases this new sound to perfection, as do the more aggressive Saved and Shadow, which arrive later in the album. The soulful groove of Unleashed is the musical highlight of Reach and shows just how captivating Barfield can be when he stretches himself beyond the stereotypical safe sounds of Christian radio. Unfortunately, the albums ballads do not do any of that stretching, and they are largely forgettable, particularly Beyond the Walls.
Barfield wrote every song on the record, co-writing (with Bryan White, Scott Krippayne and Andrew Bissell) on just three. Give that credit where it is due, and, consequently, the album reflects Warrens heart. However, though the project is very encouraging and hopeful, the positive messages are not conveyed in a way that we have not heard before, and most of the songs rely on familiar phrasing and cliché. The writer, who dug a bit deeper on tracks like My Heart Goes Out, seems to have regressed a step; none of these songs will be remembered as a classic five years from now. Reach shows Barfield on a more confident musical footing and will appeal to his fanbase, but, hopefully, the third time around he can put it all together and deliver the complete package.