The Neverclaim by The Neverclaim
Available September 24, 2013
Produced by: Jason Ingram (Chris Tomlin, Tenth Avenue North, Building 429) & Paul Moak (Matt Kearney, Third Day, Matt Maher)
“We never want to claim God’s glory as our own.”
A statement that defines the band’s heart as they set out to release their first self-titled project. Fans of NEEDTOBREATHE and Third Day will really enjoy this album, and also folks who want their worship music to sound a little different than anything else out there.
Lead singer, Jeremiah Carlson tapped into the local church scene to find his band mates. He crossed paths with Matthew Warren, a classically trained cello player and Minnesota transplant who had taken up guitar and was soon inviting childhood friend Chuck Hill to join them out on the West Coast to play bass. Drummer/Percussionist Jared Key was a farm boy, new in Portland and seeking a Christian band gig; he connected with The Neverclaim just as he was considering a move back to rural Oregon. Josh Anderson was another great get—“that ‘kid’ who played slide guitar” from other worship bands around town. Finally, Mitchell Maldonado was the group’s sound guy and able to play any auxiliary instrument in a pinch. His official membership status was inevitable.
“It’s really cool how God brought strangers together through random relationships for a common goal,” says Carlson. “We want to give our lives away, becoming less so God becomes more.”
The project opens up with Revival. A song that immediately sets the tone of the entire album. A tone that is really Jesus-centric. Every song points to Jesus, and not just in metaphors and implications. Revival hints at the band’s Third Day’s influence and we hear that throughout the album in Carlson’s gravelly, yet commanding lead vocals.
One Truth One Life continues the Jesus-centered theme with it’s anthem-like chanting chorus “There is only one way, one truth, one life!” This is one I can hear congregations shouting and singing with great conviction. The chorus is a catchy, singable expression of John 14:6. Highly recommended for congregational singing (especially in settings where loud, anthems are embraced)!
The next song, Pearl of Great Price, boldly claims “Jesus, treasure of life, You are the pearl of great price…” One of my pet peeves in modern worship is the use of the phrase of “Your name” in referencing Jesus (or God) in a song, while never actually saying the name of Jesus. The Neverclaim boldly proclaims the name of Jesus and it is refreshing! This is a GREAT worship song.
Steal Their Hearts is a parent’s prayer to God to reveal His love to his children. Would be a great song to include for a family service or a child dedication.
My Soul Longs is another song that sets the table for a good “raise your voices” and sing with gusto. The theme of the song is the hope of the future in the coming Risen Lord. The band showcases more traditional instruments on this tune. We hear some banjo occasionally and this song is another one that hints at the Third Day influence. Recommended for congregational settings.
Next up we have Mighty Jesus which moves us into a three feel. The song is worshipful and continues to build on the Jesus-focused tone that we’ve heard so far throughout the whole album. The chorus is a beautiful expression of worship singing, “Mighty Jesus, Rock of Salvation, When all else is shifting sand, it’s on You alone, I stand…” Highly recommended for corporate worship settings.
Burn turns up the classic rock influence a bit, we can almost hear a little Springsteen seeping out of the speakers during this song. Worship environments that are able to utilize more of the modern rock sounds will latch on to this anthem. It’s a simple and repetitive expression of a prayer proclaiming that “I want to burn for You.”
Be Lifted Higher keeps driving home the humble, yet confident, desire to glorify God with the lyrics and music on this album. The sound of this song leans more to what we’re used to in the modern worship movement. Lots of pads and effected guitars. It reminds me a little bit of a Matt Redman or Chris Tomlin recording….maybe with a hint of the newest Hillsong United thrown in.
Sweet Sweet Mercies scales back the rock sound and takes us to a little more raw and natural acoustic sounding groove, with lots of guitar and banjo work. As the song builds, we turn on the amps and layer in the electric, Southern Rock guitars. Good song.
To close the album, Enthroned on High (Holy, Holy, Holy) gives us a fresh take on the classic hymn Holy, Holy, Holy, that many of use grew up singing. It’s not a remix, or even a rewrite, but a completely new song that uses the classic hymn as the bridge. It gets big and loud and will be a great addition to songs that use classic hymns in their repertoire.
Honestly, I don’t get that excited about that many new worship albums when they come out because 9 times out of 10, though they’re solid, they don’t reach out and grab me for some reason. Maybe it’s because they tend to sound similar to one another until one comes out and breaks the mold a little bit, I don’t know.
The Neverclaim isn’t necessarily treading on new ground here sonically, or even blazing new trails with the artistry of their lyrics. Their songs simply point to Jesus. Their lyrics are blatantly Jesus-centric. I LOVE THAT. Some would prefer more artistic expressions, more metaphor, but I just want to worship Jesus…and this album helps me do that…without apology. I love it.
I highly recommend this album for congregational settings. Young or old, modern or traditional, there are songs that can be suited to your needs throughout the album. Please pick it up!!
Russ Hutto is the Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church where he mentors, oversees and helps lead Family and Student worship environments. He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.