From City Harmonic’s website:
“I guess we didn’t worry too much about whether these songs were ‘singable’ or not,” admits Elias “People don’t sing along to old hymns because they’re ‘singable’ – the songs move them and mean a lot to them. They weren’t simple in the way that people sometimes suggest worship songs should be, but people connected with them anyway. We can’t make worship music formulaic, we have to move and inspire people. I hope we can write songs that are creative and honest. The kind of songs that capture people’s hearts and minds – then I believe their voices will follow. I pray people can connect with them and make them their own. Hopefully they aren’t worship songs simply because we say so, but because they come from honest, worshipful lives and inspire the same in others.”
In reading this, I can say that I definitely agree after a solid listen to this record. Most of the tunes really do flit between incredibly desolate soundscapes and full-on power ballads, tossing conventional sounds aside in favor of good, genuine musicality. From a musician’s perspective, they have both captured what it means to creare an absolute wall of sound, and also what it means to play less while achieving more.
Be Still, Oh My Soul drew me in from the first few bars. The great combination of slightly fuzzy vocals, parlour piano and lazy harmonica recalled a time that I was never really alive for, and just as I was settling in, I felt like the title betrayed me. The soung turns into this fantastically rousing cacophony with a message of reassurance. Like many of the songs here, it might take a little doing to get your congregation to join in if they are more traditionally minded. Otherwise, it was difficult for me to stay still (or keep quiet) while listening.
The opening lyrics of Mountaintop read like an awesome exhortation between people. The song speaks of (and with) great anticipation about the God of the mountaintop, and the future He has for us. Sparse verses (albeit with blow-your-head-off drums keeping things in check) mingle with monstrous and soaring choruses that really beg for people to sing along. The word “anthem” is probably one of the more overused words when speaking of praise and worship music, but here it really fits. Crowds pumping fists, banners raised high…it doesn’t take much imagination to see that while listening to this example.
Finally, Holy (Wedding Day) is like a beautiful taunt to the powers of hell, singing lively about that great day that we look forward to. This tune paints a truly magical tapestry, illustrating to us just how awesome God is, and what the long-awaited wedding day will look like.
While there is so much to be said for this kind of talent and creativity, it should suffice to simply know that quality in every regard positively abounds in this album. Is it worth your dollars? More than ten times.
Justin is the director of worship arts at The Well (www.thewellchurch.ca), and blogs about theology, team dynamics, leadership, gear, CD reviews and anything else that might just feel right at the time at harmonylounge.wordpress.com.