The Christian soft rock duo for KING & COUNTRY proved with their debut album Crave in 2012 that it was possible for a Christian band to cultivate an accessible enough sound to appeal to audiences much larger than that niche demographic. Now the band, which is composed of Australian brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, is getting attention again for a remix of the song 'Crave' retitled 'Hope Is What We Crave' as they prepare to release their sophomore effort in the fall.
The musical Smallbone family relocated from Australia to Nashville in 1991 and the brothers have been performing together since they were in high school. The group's name was chosen after the battle cry once used by English soldiers, something the brothers see as a symbolic nod to their willingness to give up everything for their God.
“The history of that phrase is that back in the olden days, the British would go into battle shouting, chanting, 'For King and Country,' sort of as an anthem of fighting for something that they believed wholeheartedly in. We all looked at each other in the studio and we just knew that was it,” Luke says of choosing the name in an interview on the band's website.
Crave surprised everyone by climbing not only the Christian & Gospel charts, but the regular Billboard charts as well. Singles 'Busted Heart' and 'The Proof of Your Love' performed well as the Smallbones managed to craft songs that have a subtle Christian message within catchy melodies that have gained the group comparisons to Coldplay. For listeners who may be turned off by the idea of listening to a Christian band, the Christian message can be easy to miss with for KING & COUNTRY unless you're paying close attention.
Overall, Crave received positive reviews from critics as well as providing a couple chart-topping singles. After touring in support of the record and making some television appearances to promote it, the Smallbone brothers returned to their native Nashville and performed at The Factory for a live album and DVD titled Hope Is What We Crave: Live. The group's live set-up involves the two brothers singing, backed up by a small band. That Tennessee show produced the reworked version of 'Crave' that has been getting attention for being even better than the original song.