7 pm on November 9th, 2012 sort of marked a pivotal point in my life.
(Side note: if my BFF Sarah is reading this right now, I know she is rolling her eyes because she knows where I’m going with this. Let me explain…)
This was the night, exactly 250 days ago today, that Sarah and I headed out to Auer Hall at IPFW in Fort Wayne, Indiana for the Into the Light Tour concert stop featuring (as far as we knew) Lindsay McCaul, Mikeschair, and Matthew West.
The evening was freezing cold for early November, and as I recall, I had to walk what seemed like a mile across the frozen Indiana tundra in my as-yet-unbroken-in-heels to get to the venue. When Sarah and I finally got there, I realized I had grabbed the wrong camera bag and I didn’t have my Press Pass. (And to think, I was just complaining about walking a mile in my shoes…little did I realize running 2 miles in the same pair of shoes was not going to be any more pleasant!)
Needless to say, I was not a happy camper when I returned to the venue.
“Hey, what’s with this Everfound band?” I vividly remember Sarah asking me, pointing at her ticket stub. “Are they any good?”
“Never heard of them,” I replied. “I didn’t even know they were on the billing tonight,” I added, shrugging my shoulders.
With that, I briefly debated leaving my seat to go out and peruse the array of colorful t-shirts for sale in the lobby, because, really, how good could a band named Everfound that I’ve never even heard of before be anyways?
Right on cue, the lights faded and Everfound’s set started.
To answer my own question: Quite simply, Everfound ended up being pretty darn good.
I was hooked within the first 5 seconds of their energetic, wildly crowd pleasing set. (Now that I mention it, I never did buy a t-shirt that night. Oh well!)
In all seriousness, however, before 7 pm on November 9th, 2012, I had never heard of a band called Everfound.
After November 9th, 2012, I haven’t stopped talking about that very same band, Everfound.
Yan, Everfound’s drummer
I know I’ve written previously on Spin: the Blog how I happened to accidentally meet the Everfound brothers later that November night, and, I’m pretty sure I will not soon forget Nikita’s reaction to seeing my official press credentials dangling around my neck because he literally jumped over the band’s makeshift merchandise table to talk to me.
After inspecting my badge, Nikita began asking me a series of questions as if he was the chief investigative journalist for the evening (instead of me): “Are you a writer? Who do you write for? Do you write about music? Have you ever met anyone famous? Hey, Ruslan, Larry, she’s a writer! Come talk to her!”
Personally, I was a lot more interested in hearing their story than my own.
Ruslan, Everfound’s guitarist/keyboard player
The lively and engaging brothers told me briefly about their compelling story, which began in the United States after they emigrated here as young children from the Soviet Union. “It’s hard for us to imagine what it was like to be a Christian for our parents and grandparents,” Nikita told me that night, telling me the story of his great-grandfather who spent 20 years in prison simply for owning a Bible.
It seems to me that the courage and conviction that Nikita, Ruslan, Illarion, and Yan’s ancestors so boldly displayed on a continent thousands of miles away so very long ago is now plainly evident in Everfound’s debut full length album on Word Entertainment.
So, without further adieu, here are my track by track thoughts about the self-titled project, which I’m told the classically trained band of brothers originally whittled down to 12 from 75 pieces that were either written or co-written by Everfound. According to Nikita, “Each of the songs that made the record are deeply personal and hand-selected favorites. This album has been more than two years in the making and we are very proud of it and excited to see how the songs will connect with our fans!”
Track 1, Pyatigorsk—A luminous, big sounding instrumental intro befitting the musical feast for the ears that is to come. Don’t sweat what the word looks like or how you would say it; a quick Google search seems to indicate that ‘Pyatigorsk’ is a Russian city, so if I were to guess, perhaps this is the place where Everfound’s story originally begins. I think if this is true, it’s quite fitting that it’s the name of the first track of their self-titled debut CD, too.
Track 2—Go—I am immediately struck by Nikita’s sparkly bright, clean vocals on this track. There is something about Nikita’s tone and style that is reminiscent of Mike Donehey of Tenth Avenue North (which, coming from me is a huge compliment!). At other times I hear elements of a young, fresh Ryan Tedder and company from One Republic (again, major kudos as I love One Republic.)
Yet, even with these lofty comparisons, Everfound doesn’t wait around leaning too heavily on comparables, waiting to establish their own unique sound; quite literally, they go to work right away showing listeners the full gamut of what they are capable of musically.
As a result, I thought Go was a rocking and refreshing, hip young tune; however, I do recommend getting vaccinated prior to listening to Go due to its downright infectious hook. Go is so good, I’m concerned it might just start a pandemic.
Track 3—Unless—This track had me at ‘catastrophe’. Lyrically, Everfound’s album is consistently all-around brilliant. As a writer and self-proclaimed word girl, I feel well qualified to comment on just how good these lyrics are. In fact, I liked the lyrics to this album so much that I had to request a copy of them from Word because they are so good. Consider Unless my “Everfound’s album is all-around consistently brilliant” Exhibit A. Check it—
“ Stuck in a catastrophe /Life is tearing at the seams/There’s no way that I can hold it in/Sinking in the ashes of/Everything that I once loved/I’d give it all to get it back again/Stuck on a wire/And it feels like it’s over
Unless/A miracle/Takes control/And rescues my fallen world/I confess/I’m such a mess/I’m already dead/Unless”
Now, listen to how they pair up these lyrics with the music, and your mind will be completely blown. You haven’t heard a stylistically savvy blend of punk-infused modern rock at its finest until you’ve listed to Unless. Seriously.Good.Stuff.
Track- 4—Never Beyond Repair—If there is one thing I want you to remember about this review forever, this is it: the song Never Beyond Repair is a life-changer.
I have loved this song since the first second the very first notes touched my ears for the very first time.
If your heart isn’t touched by this song, you might need to see a cardiologist because there is seriously something wrong with you.
Perhaps the reason I love this song so much is because it describes my past life experiences to a perfect T. I have so been there. I have so felt like I was beyond repair, and wasted so much time living like I was beyond repair.
If there was ever one song I could go back in time and play for me as teenage Beth, maybe even younger, Never Beyond Repair would be the one.
“You’ve done what you promised that you’d never do/Your innocence gone and your fears coming true/
How did you end up like this, feeling so lost/Like your life is in pieces too broken to fix/
And shame’s got you tied to a weight you can’t lift/But the biggest mistake that you made isn’t too big
You’re not beyond repair/Grace meets you anywhere/And the mess of your heart/Is where love’s gonna start/‘Cause you are/
Never beyond repair”
From the bottom of my heart, thank you Nikita, Ruslan, Yan (and Seth Mosley!) for writing this song. If I could reach thru the computer and give you a big hug right now, I most certainly would. In fact, would somebody please put these lyrics on my tombstone when I die because this song right here is where it’s AT! I LOVE this song, and this message.
Track 5—Count The Stars—So, following the first four stellar tracks, I figured “Well, that has to be about it, right?” Wrong. Bring on a hopefully haunting, soaring vocal performance by Nikita, more solid lyrics, and more spot on music and I have to say, I continue to be impressed. I honestly thought at some points during Count The Stars I heard some old school circa-Peter-Furler-Newsboys-Spirit-Thing-days throwback vibes. How awesome is that? (Those were the good old days!)
Track 6—God of the Impossible—This song is destined for great things. I love the lyrics, and I love the fact that this morning I heard my six-year-old son Alex in his bedroom banging away on his drums and singing:
“Here I am, Lord, send me/I won’t look back ‘cause I was made/To be a part of the impossible/You’re God of the impossible
Here I am, Lord, send me/I won’t back down ‘cause I believe/You are the God of the impossible/Here I am, send me”
No matter who you are, after a listen or two of this song, you will undoubtedly feel like Mel Gibson in Braveheart: not only will you feel totally sick (in a good way) like your face is painted half blue and your bad self’s pumped up and ready to run into battle against the enemy, you will also have an amazing new battle cry in your heart to listen to as you fight the good fight.
Plaid kilt and spear completely optional, and sold separately.
(Also on a side note, in case this is the first time you’ve read my blog, my aforementioned son Alex has impeccable taste in music, and he is also the world’s leading expert on for King & Country, Everfound’s label mates at Word Entertainment.)
Track 7—Hallelujah—This track, which was co-written by Nikita and Ruslan, totally made me smile. In my head, every time I listened to this song I kept picturing Hallelujah as a fabulous music video because it would very easily translate to a Family Force 5-esque video in the vein of Wobble, Cray Button or Chainsaw. I mean, who wouldn’t love Hallelujah as the next punkified rock music video/ internet sensation? I know I’d watch it at least a few thousand times!
Track 8—Somewhere New—This is the only track on the album written exclusively by one person: Nikita. Beautiful in its simplistic fragility and innocent intimacy, there’s just something special about this one. The result is a poignant, heartfelt track that is impossible to ignore or forget about. I double dog dare you to try.
Track 9—Hurt—Here is where Everfound begins to reveal the true essence of what I believe they are one day capable of accomplishing musically. Up until this point, Nikita’s vocals are nothing if not consistently fresh, young, and perfectly suited to each musical composition. Then, in Hurt, Nikita just leaves all his previous delivery methods behind. He walks away from what is comfortable for him, completely stripping away his typical vocalizations and delivering for the first time a raw, mature, elemental performance.
If you knew nothing about Everfound and track 9 happened to be the first song you ever heard by the band, you would have no idea how old Nikita is, and it wouldn’t even matter to you because his voice is everything that is right about this song.
Track 10—Lubit hristos bezmerna—Another shout out to Everfound’s homeland. Again, do not fear the spelling or pronunciation; just enjoy the short instrumental piece, and if you know what ‘Lubit hristos bezmerna’ means, by all means post it below in the comments section! I’d love to know.
Track 11—Torch—Light it up, boys and girls, because Everfound’s in the home stretch and they’re gonna end this debut release with a bang! I love the energy in this song, and can only imagine how fantastically well this number would translate to a live Everfound performance (have I mentioned how amazing Everfound is to see live? Because they are!) The lyrics are spectacular on this one as well: “And if it rains or pours / I’m screaming I am Yours / And no one will ignore who I’m living for / I’m carrying the torch.” I have to give up some mad props to Yan on the drums on this one, too. So stellar, I’m betting even Stellar Kart would approve 🙂
Track 12—Take This City—One of my personal favorites of among slow jams on the album, the song Take This City should be a focal point of the entire album for Everfound fans. If this CD was a book, then this would be the scene right before the climax and falling action where tensions are rising and everything has to go just right or it all falls apart.
Everfound delivers big, playing the part perfectly with that succinct blend of vocals, perfectly timed crescendos, and instrumentation that I am ever so fond of.
(Oh, and if you think you’re hearing a little bit ‘o resemblance to Alex’s favorite band, for King and Country on track #12, you have a really good ear, my friend—Joel Smallbone of for King & Country fame is credited as a co-writer this go round. As my Grandma’s Australian friend Tania would always say when she didn’t believe something was true: “Stone the crows!”)
Track 13—We Are Alive—Once again, a more mature sounding Nikita emerges, breaking through and outright nailing this anthemic whopper of a song. This song is upbeat, it’s memorable and appealing, just like the rest of the album. It put a song in my heart, and made me want to come back for more of Everfound’s music again and again.
Track 14—What Love Means—What Love Means ends the album on a truly high note. I found myself getting a little emotional listening to the following lyrics (which, coincidentally, is totally unlike me):
“You gave away Your life/The greatest sacrifice/You did it all so I can know what love means
There’s nothing good in me/But You see what I can’t see/And through it all, Your cross shows me what love means
Love comes with a price/You paid with Your life/So I give You mine
There’s nothing good in me/But You see what I can’t see/And through it all, Your cross shows me what love means”
I think it is pretty clear not only what love means, but what Everfound means, too.
I think it should also be pretty clear what I mean when I say that I love this album: it has helped me to reconnect and reinvigorate my faith, simultaneously allowing me to reflect on where I’ve been (Never Beyond Repair, Unless), where I’m going (Go, Somewhere New), and why I’m going there (Torch, What Love Means).
Illarion, Everfound’s Bassist
This morning, I asked my 6-year-old son if he wanted me to give him $7 to buy a CD of the music he’s learning at Vacation Bible School this week.
“No thanks,” Alex replied, shaking his head. “I’d rather save my money and buy some good music like the new Everfound CD tomorrow, Mommy. I really like it!”
I tell you this not to reiterate that fact that my son not only has awesome taste in music like his mom, but to point out just how important the bonds of family are no matter who you are or where you are from.
As I reflect on this very highly anticipated (by me) album from Everfound, I can’t help but think about that night last November when Nikita, Ruslan, Yan and Larry talked with me so openly about their own family, particularly about how their ancestors couldn’t even openly talk about their Christian faith prior to emigrating from Russia.
To be able to listen to Christian music like the album Everfound is releasing today on the radio probably would have sounded like a pie in the sky dream to the Odnoralov’s great-grandfather who once went to prison for owning a Bible.
Somehow defying all odds, today the great-grandsons of that same prisoner have a top 20 radio hit in the form of Never Beyond Repair. They also have, at least in my opinion, the standout full length debut album of 2013.
With this release, Everfound lights a torch for a new generation of Christians to follow while inspiring and encouraging those believers yet to come to Christ with their music and compelling story that spans an ocean and multiple continents, time and several generations, heaven and earth.
Truly, the God of the impossible has made what likely once seemed impossible for the Odnoralov brothers possible by sending a family with a band of musical brothers to Denver, Colorado.
Now, how amazing is that?
My signed Everfound EP. I’ve been carrying this around in my camera bag since I met the band in November when they were on the Into the Light Tour with Matthew West. I knew then they were going to make it big!
Since I met the Odnoralov brothers back in November, I’ve been carrying around their autographed EP in my camera bag and showing it to everyone I meet with the advice, “If you only buy one new CD in 2013, make sure it’s the new release by this band.”
That’s just a sampling of how much I believed in these guys after seeing them perform once and meeting them; however, after listening to a pre-release copy of their full length debut, I’m fully prepared to up the ante—if you are a Spin: the Blog subscriber and buy Everfound’s new release and aren’t totally WOWED by it, send me an e-mail (Beth@BethStauffer.com) and I will buy it back from you.
Seriously, I will (but I am confident that once you hear this CD, you aren’t going to want to part with it EVER! The only other time I ever did a buy back guarantee like this with another band, I had no takers so I do know what I’m talking about!)
Also, if you are one of the first 5 people to e-mail me at Beth@BethStauffer.com the correct answer to the following trivia question, I will send you a free copy of the brand new Everfound CD! Here’s your clue:
The only other band/artist that I have ever offered a “Buy Back Guarantee” on along with her Must Buy recommendation is an award-winning Word Entertainment label mate of Everfound’s. Which CD release from which one of Beth’s favorite bands/artists was it?
You must correctly name band/artist AND the name of the band/artist’s CD to win. If you are one of the winners, you will be notified by e-mail and asked to provide your mailing address; you must respond within 48 hours to this request, or you will forfeit your prize and it will be given to the next correctly answered entrant in the queue.
Oh, and what the heck…just for fun, I’m going to throw in autographed copies of the mystery CD by the mystery band/artist since I happen to have a few copies in my stash 🙂
So, the top 5 winners will get 2 of my nuevo favorite CD’s this week….woot-woot!
Good luck….and, can I win?