Out of Hiding 'Live from Brave Generation' Album Review
Prime Cuts: Mountains, Follow You, Break Into Life
Of the copious worship releases that saturate our record shelves, what sets Out of Hiding's new effort apart? While many worship discs are made solely with the believing church in mind, Out of Hding has taken a further step. Though the cynosure of these songs here are absolutely God centered, these songs also contain a missional thrust to them. Unlike many of their peers, this New England band, have lyrically curtailed the religious jargons to a stark minimum. And thematically these songs have an underwhelming simplicity and an engaging immediacy that should resonate with the average believer yet they will not behoove the unbeliever. Stylistically, they have kept abreast to the Hillsong template of melodic sing-a-longs with the alt rock stadium filing aplomb without forgetting the high power ballads. Though this effort was recorded live during the youth conference put on by Holy Fire Ministries in New England, the audience exigencies (such as clapping, singing and interruptions) are essentially kept to its background, giving the record a clearer and more polished sound. And though lead vocalist Justin Kendrick does intersperse conversations with the crowd, his speeches were by no means intrusive or tedious. Rather they enhanced the missional approach of the record as he has a rhetorically engaging way of speaking.
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The album launches on a good start with the techno influenced Coldplay alt rocker "Break Into Life." As the title suggests, this propulsive call to break forth into joyous worship has an irresistibly hook that you will find yourself singing along in the second chorus. "Overcome," on the other hand, starts off with a bluesy undertone before exploding into a rowdy anthem celebrating the work of Christ on the Cross. Listen especially to how Kendrick draws the crowd in as he trades lines with the congregation building up to a united choir of exaltation to our Lord. If you are looking for one of those awe-filled anthems that truly put the doctrine of the church to music look no further than "One Church." Also worthy of mentioning is the simple yet effective worship paean "King of the Angels."
If truth be told, the ballads here are the shinning gems. After an album choke overwhelmingly with rockers, "Mountains" is a much anticipated ballad. Starting off with just the gorgeous tinkling of the piano before exploding into a full power worship tune, this tune truly brings out the sovereignty of God in majestic proportions. Though not as good as "Mountains," "Follow You" is a contemplative folk-like Bob Dylan ballad where Kendrick turns the song into a heartfelt prayer about making Christ our ambition. These are the types of songs that will change nations. More straight forward is the mid-tempo worship "Hail to the King" -- a track that calls to mind Hillsongs' "High and Lifted Up."
If there are any quibbles, it is that many a times the lyrics fall into the trappings of worship clichés where words often get recycled without much thought or creativity. Case in point is "Father God" where Kendrick sings "I feel your love/cascading like water/breaking like waves." Further, the dearth of more creative language, images and thoughts, also camouflage these songs from standing at times from the millions of worship tunes out there. Other than such minor challenges, "Live from Brave Generation" is indeed a brave effort that seeks not only to draw the believer into the heart of worship, but it has a way of being missional too drawing the pagan into the beauty of the irresistible Creator.
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