Posted: May 18, 2011 in Album Reviews
Non-profit organization Come&Live! is home to some of the most unique worship bands, one those bands being Great Awakening. The North Carolina-based quartet is back with their second record Songs In Secret, done in an indie/alt. rock-style that borders on experimental.
Songs In Secret feels like a live record with its raw production and unconstrained song structures. Take “Explore;” it begins minimally with a picking guitar before unexpectedly erupting into a full band. A few songs are more straightforward like “Lazarus” with its singable chorus, “Alive, You’re alive/Now You’re breathing in me, feeding me.” Lyrically, the songs are very intimate and organic, reminding me of Luke Parker’s Home.
This collection of intimate worship songs is perfect to put on during your quiet time with God. Fans of Ascend The Hill, The Ember Days, and Josh White should enjoy Great Awakening.
Posted: April 19, 2011 in Album Reviews
Luke Parker may be an unfamiliar name to you, but the New Zealand native has written several songs for contemporary worship act, Parachute Band. In addition to corporate worship songs, Luke also writes worship songs that are more intimate and appropriate for one-on-one time with God. Luke recently released a collection, titled Home, with six of his solo songs.
What struck me about Home is that it’s so light and acoustic-based, yet it’s such a powerful record. Songs like “In Quietness” and “My Soul Lays Bare” prove less is more- simple instrumentation puts the focus on the lyrics, which center around waiting on God and longing for His presence. “Home” begins with guitar picking and gradually builds with swirling, reverb-laced background vocals. “Selah” also builds slowly; during the climax Luke repeats a heartfelt cry, “My soul is singing out.”
If you enjoy music by Jon Foreman and Derek Webb, or even if you’re looking for some music to play during your quiet time, then make sure to check out Luke Parker’s Home.
Check out my converstaion with Jason Dunn of Hawk Nelson over at Christian Music Zine – http://christianmusiczine.com/2011/02/14/interview-hawk-nelson/
When I heard that Hawk Nelson was releasing another album my initial thought was, Didn’t they just release an album? Turns out it’s been a year and a half since Live Life Loud. Time flies. The Canadian pop/punk act’s fifth endeavor, Crazy Love offers a good balance of pop/punk fun and meaningful messages.
While Crazy Love doesn’t take as many musical liberties as Hawk’s previous effort, it makes for a more cohesive record. The title-track and “Your Love Is A Mystery” have a pop/synth influence, which fits nicely with high-octane pop/punk, reminiscent of their Letters to the President days, on “Tally-Ho,” “Skeleton,” “Fraud,” and “Joanna.” Even more energy is displayed on “LAX,” a chaotic punk ditty expressing the band’s frustration with airports, “I hate airports, I know they hate me/I know they jade me and that’s my point.”
It’s not all lighthearted lyricism though. “We Can Change the World” rallies listeners to make a difference in the world. “One Shot” follows the theme of their last album, urging listeners to “live out loud” because “you got one shot.” “Your Love Is A Mystery” is one of Hawk’s most overt songs to date, “You love me Jesus, it’s a mystery/You know my faults, You know my wrongs/And You still love me.”
I stated in my review of Live Life Loud that I could be a Hawk Nelson fan by their next album. While I’m not quite there yet, Crazy Love has convinced me that Hawk Nelson is a CCM staple.
Check out what BEC Recordings pop/rock outfit The Museum has to say about their new partnership with “Not For Sale,” a campaign to fight human trafficking – http://christianmusiczine.com/2011/02/02/interview-the-museum/
Also, download their new song “Not For Sale” and donate to the cause if you can – http://themuseumisnotforsale.com
While Attalus is new to the music scene, the North Carolina-based quintet proves to be a promising band. Their debut, The Greater Tide EP offers an appealing alternative rock sound that can best be described as Thrice meets House of Heroes.
Attalus will keep listeners on their toes with frequent change-ups in style and rhythm. Take the second track “The Rich and Poor.” On the verses, it encompasses a crisp, fast-paced drum beat, sizzling guitar riffs, and a faint piano motif that graces over top of it all. The chorus takes a slower rhythm and melancholy chord progressions, putting the focus on the hook-laden melody. Another musically intriguing track, “Behind Your Eyes” starts full but quickly strips down to a simple, piano chord progression and a driving kick drum. The song builds momentum as instruments are added back. During the bridge, vocalist Seth Davey shows off his upper range, which is strikingly similar to that of Matt MacDonald from The Classic Crime.
The lyrics are just as attention-grabbing as the music. The Greater Tide isn’t a concept album per se, but there are a few songs that have a “sea” theme. One such song, “Message In A Bottle” tells a metaphorical story of a man surviving a shipwreck to demonstrate the beauty of grace, “And I don’t know why I survived. I too deserved to die/But Providence has turned His eye/Grace has chosen me to stay.” The title-track is about people who have died for their faith. Seth explains in an interview that the song “represents [his] admiration for those individuals.”
The Greater Tide is as solid as debuts come. The production is a little rough, but this is a minor detail. From the impressive guitar work and complex rhythms to the thought-provoking lyrics, Attalus sound more like seasoned pros than newbies. This is definitely a band to watch.
Check out my email interview with Tooth & Nail’s I Am Empire over at Christian Music Zine.