Now before you assume the band has abandoned its rootsy rock sound and done something drastic like going techno or incorporating hip-hop rhymes a la Hamilton into their lyrics, Third Day's change of course packs a real wallop without scaring off the faithful. It's the Third Day you've always known and loved—but even better.
For Revival, the band not only crossed a big item off the ol' bucket list by laying down the tracks at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the same place that's welcomed everyone from Aretha Franklin and Etta James to Otis Redding, but Mac Powell, Mark Lee, and David Carr also kept things fresh by throwing out the proverbial playbook altogether.
With no charts, no set agenda, and a decidedly collaborative approach, Revival has an exciting feel of immediacy from beginning to end. Whether it's the instantly engaging title track that perfectly sets the tone for what feels like an old-time revival gone modern or the rollicking reminder of what believers have to look forward to in heaven, Revival has an inherently timeless quality.
Something of an old soul (cue the organs and call and response singing) trapped in a much younger man's body, Revival's sentiments are tried and true, the ABCs of salvation, worship, and delighting in the Lord, but the soundtrack, is rock 'n' roll with a dash of the blues and gospel cranked up many, many decibels. The production from Third Day's longtime collaborator Monroe Jones is top-notch and practically dares you to turn it up. LOUD.
The rare deviation from the album's pioneering spirit is the upbeat, congregationally minded "Let There Be Light", which seems destined for frequent radio airplay Sunday morning services everywhere. While there's certainly nothing wrong with that, it feels a bit out of place on a project with such a free spirit. That minor quibble aside, Third Day has managed to sound fresh, and dare I say, revived, a rather remarkable feat for a band that has already traveled a very long road together.