Jesus Culture 'Emerging Voices' Album Review
Prime Cuts: Mighty Fortress, Who Can Compare, You Are My God
Jesus Culture is more than just a recording band; they are a Holy influence that has permeated into souls of millions of young people. Touted at times as the young revivalists of our times; on this disc Jesus Culture is fronted by four rising worship leaders: Derek Johnson, Mary Kat Ehrenzeller, Nate Ward and Justin Jarvis. Emerged from Bethel Church in California their influences (via their records and conferences) have impacted young lives for Jesus in ways unimaginable. "Emerging Voices" their seventh full length release follows last year's best seller "Awakening: Live from Chicago." Nevertheless, Jesus Culture is not the first church group that goes all out to strive to win young people for Christ. So, what sets them apart? Part of their success is that they have been firm in their message but flexible in their style. Comb through the lyrics of these 11 cuts and you will find that these songs are squarely about the glory and majesty of Jesus Christ. There is not a moment of squandering on issues that are of second importance. And when Christ is celebrated, there is an alluring joy and outpouring that draws people to Him. Musically, Jesus Culture is malleable. They have kept themselves fresh; they are never afraid of using the trendiest synth beeps, pounding drums and snarky guitars to create the anthemic Hillsong worship feel. Despite the aplomb, interspersed through the record are also the more organic quieter moments, they have not forgotten that often these are the tnder times when God ministers powerfully.
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This time round, they have decided to keep these 11 tracks in-house-where each of the four worship-leaders collectively or singlehandedly wrote all the tracks occasionally using a few internal co-writers. This has resulted for the better; there is a more overall cohesive sound giving the whole record a more familiar confidence from the leads. Easily the highlight here is Mary Kat's "Mighty Fortress." "Mighty Fortress" is a pastiche of greatness threaded by some 80s sounding Pat Benator rock as well as some edgy electronic dance beats of say Rachal Lampa. Also, fronted by Mary Kat is the acoustic ballad "Who Can Compare." Mary Kat here puts her Brooke Fraser-like breathy vocals to great effect on this gorgeous prayer about God's greatness in our lives. As for Nate Ward, out of two tracks he co-wrote, the best is the "Where You Are." Ward certainly knows how to take an average upbeat worship tune, adds his own style and energy into it recalling Jake Hamilton at best.
Other than Mary Kat, Derek Johnson comes in as the strongest writer and vocalist. Not to be missed is "I Belong to You" a catchy mid-tempo pop tune that is irresistibly catchy. While Johnson's "You Are My God' has an old school hymn feel to it. But it is so worshipful that this could be the perfect soundtrack for a morning devotional time with the Lord. The last of the four emerging voices, though not the least is Justin Davis. Davis' fronts the CD with his co-write "Here I Am." The song has a militant marching Brit synth beat that is totally infectious. It is a gorgeous call to worship that just starts off the record on a fiery God exalting start. "Be My Love" is one of those love songs directed to Jesus; but don't give up on it until the end where the audience is given a chance to express their love song to Jesus. There is such anointing in those moments that they are just Spirit-filled opportunities.
Jesus Culture does not just record albums. They invite us into the worship of God on God's own tuff. This means that these songs are insatiably God-centered and Spirit anointed. Yet, one hardly ever gets bored. Rather, we are engaged all the way right through. These four voices are emerging-yes, they are rising to raise for God's kingdom a mighty army of young souls to spread the Good News of Jesus across the globe through worship.
CLICK HERE for 'Jesus Culture Music Releases Emerging Voices July 31'
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