The Wedding arranged a last-second rock n’ roll show at the NWA Mall’s Showcase theater Nov. 9 to bare their new album “No Direction,” in the midst of their “American Rebel” tour with Children 18:3 from Minnesota.
The album has reached number 29 on the Billboard’s Christian album chart as well as number 24 on the Heatseekers album chart.
The Wedding changed their name in 2005 and have had play on Christian radio with each of their three albums since, including hits from their self-titled debut album like “Move this City,” a formulaic sing-along, and “Morning Air,” a sharp and bouncy classic emo-genre ballad.
“No Direction” marks their first full-length album in five years and the first full length with the current lineup, Matt Shelton, Trevor Sarver, Adam Thorn, Matt Jameson, and Cody Driggers; Sarver and Driggers being the only members left of the band who started in Springdale while its members were still in high school.
None of the current members live in Arkansas anymore; they are spread out across Dallas, Phoenix and Nashville.
“It took that five years [for “No Direction” to work]. If it had happened sooner, it wouldn’t be right. This is right, in the Lord’s timing and just meshing as musicians,” Sarver said. “It’s cool. If you know us, and if you’ve followed The Wedding in the last five years, listen to ‘No Direction’ from front to back and it’s a perfect depiction of the last five years.”
It’s an album about being on the road, from feelings of frustration to freedom to redemption and resolution, Sarver said.
The new album toughens up a sound that is a mixture of pop punk and hardcore punk, with the occasional side of southern cornflake crunch or slowed-contemporary Christian ballads. The boyish emo-vocals have a more mannish quality now with Shelton onboard, but are still subject to the vocal style that whined its way to fame in the mid 2000s. A product of the popularity of Reliant K and the OC Supertones,
The Wedding’s music is more explicitly spiritual, sometimes assuming a high-mindedness and thoughtless emotional intuition in the name of God, rock that becomes tried, worn and faded like the too-tight skinny jeans that probably should not have come out of the dresser drawers. But overall, the message seemed to reach the fans that sang, danced and adored them last Friday.
“As humans, our condition is always to fear the unknown. We plan for retirement, we have savings accounts and they never work out the way we want, or we’re too afraid of them not working out,” Shelton said of the name “No Direction.” “For us, the biggest benefit of trusting in Jesus is that we don’t have to fear the unknown. We’re content he has laid out our paths for us and we can just rest with that instead of living our lives so afraid of everything.”
Teenagers filled the small venue Friday night, in thick black eyeglasses, white v necks and tiny jeans, raising their hands, jumping and running circles in the occasional mosh pit, Jesus’ most hip.
Mandi Childress, 17, has been watching The Wedding for a couple years.
“They are my main idea of music,” she said. “They’re everything I look for in a band.”
You can preview, download or order their album at Amazon.com or toothandnail.com.