With steady, plainspoken songs, How to Be Loved is clean and surefooted. Without too many artistic experiments, Agnew still maintains an artistry that is both interesting and accessible. The heart of the release flows through Agnew’s introspective style and willingness to read the Gospels both as a victorious account of God’s redemption and as a social/physical commission (which is actually the culmination of the victory). Agnew’s telltale throaty pipes pound your heart from all directions. Except it’s more than sound: it’s emotion and the piercing-truth-in-music that evokes a deeper understanding of the compassion of Christ.
More: The stripped down, guitar-driven, alt-country musical approach is a perfect fit for Agnew’s gutsy songwriting and worship posture of praising in doubt and confidence, alike.
Less: With a voice like a lion’s, it’s a shame he didn’t let loose a couple of growls. His vocal style stuck closer to Need and it would have been nice to hear Better Questions slipped in here and there.