Music Review: David Crowder*Band's "Church Music"

 

David Crowder*Band, the Dove Award-winning six-piece band, crafts compelling, inimitably progressive electronic rock. They are back with their new release "Church Music" arguably their most innovative effort to date. Packed full with 17 full tracks, "It's our stimulus package," the frontman player jokes. "We're doing our part." The band hopes this album serves as a reminder of the continual evolvement of music within the Church.

One of David's favorite selections from "Church Music" is "God Almighty, None Compares," because he loves "the guitar harmony…the guitarmony, if you will, and shredding is involved, which always makes me smile." The band is rounded out by guitarists Jack Parker and Mark Waldorp , bassist Mike Dodson, drummer Jeremy Bush and electronic violinist Mike Hogan. For the epic "Eastern Hymn," which is the rest of the band's favorite song on the disc, David commissioned the translation of an ancient Chinese prayer book which he'd found last summer while the band was on the Passion World Tour, and portions of the translated tome appear in the song's chorus. 

The album opens with "Phos Hilaron (Hail Gladdening Light)", which sets the tone for this excellent album, my top album of 2009 and my favorite overall album by this amazing band.  If you liked "Illuminate", "A Collision" and "Remedy", then "Church Music" is for you.  The album blends previous musical and lyrical styles with some new ethereal and ambient songs and an incredible cover of my favorite song of the year, "How He Loves". To add to the uniqueness of the album, the 17 songs on the album play continuously from beginning to end with one song blending into the next.  In order to accomplish this, the band poured an immense amount of work into the process, sequencing the tracks before anything had been recorded so keys and tempos could be finalized. The result: 73 full minutes of music.  "Alleluia Sing" is next and has that signature David Crowder*Band praise and worship style similar to "Open Skies".  "The Nearness" and "Shadows" bring back the electronic feel from "Remedy" like "Everything Glorious" and "Can You Feel It?".  "Eastern Hymn" is truly epic and flows beautifully into the next few tracks "SMS (Shine)", "The Veil" and "We Are Loved".  This section reminded me of the brilliant section of "A Collision" from "Do Not Move" to "Our Happy Home".

The band even tackles a cover on the disc that has to be heard to be believed: Flyleaf's "All Around Me."  As if the album wasn't impressive already, David Crowder*Band's beautiful cover of "How He Loves", originally written and recorded by John Mark McMillan, is spectacular. The band finds a unique balance of capturing the sweet lyrical moments of the song but continually crescendos the intensity of the song and the message as the simple chorus builds over and over again. The genuine sound of the song reminds us of the simplicity yet magnanimity of God's love for us.   "Can I Lie Here" and "Birmingham (We Are Safe)" bridge to the final section of the album in the style of "…neverending…" and "Rain Down" before the title track "Church Music (Dance)", one of the most fun tracks on the album.  This particular song has an electronic feel that will remind you of a 1970's disco.  The album closes with an amazing section from the unashamed praise of "What A Miracle", and "Oh Happiness", which reminded me of "We Win!", the guitar-shredding of "God Almighty, Nothing Compares" and the epic closer "In The End (O Resplendent Light)".

Closing Thoughts:
This is my favorite overall album by David Crowder*Band and my top album of 2009.  For me, this is truly a 5 star album! 

My favorite songs are "Alleluia Sing", "The Nearness", "Eastern Hymn", "All Around Me", "Church Music (Dance)", "God Almighty, Nothing Compares" and my song of the year "How He Loves".

 "Church Music" Tracks
1.  Phos Hilaron (Hail Gladdening Light)
2.  Alleluia, Sing
3.  The Nearness
4.  Shadows
5.  Eastern Hymn
6.  SMS (Shine)
7.  The Veil
8.  We Are Loved
9.  All Around Me
10.  How He Loves
11.  Can I Lie Here
12.  Birmingham (We Are Safe)
13.  Church Music - Dance [!]
14.  What A Miracle
15.  Oh, Happiness
16.  God Almighty, Nothing Compares
17.  In The End (O Resplendent Light)


This review has been republished with permission from ChristianMusicReview.org.
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