A music review by Luchae Williams
The very first thing that I liked about Desperation Band is their name. Led by Jon Egan, the band was birthed out of the student ministries of New Life church in Colorado Springs. The church hosts an annual student conference called Desperation Conference, with the intent purpose of sculpting a generation to be desperate for God. I love that. I love that the conference focuses on young people and that it challenges them to take, what they call “The Vow” – a vow to live out a devoted life to God and the things of God. The website says: “Desperation calls young people to live in desperate pursuit of God.” With that in mind, New Life Church pastor, David Perkins, approached Egan in 2001 to form the Desperation Band – a band desperate for and deeply in love with the presence of God.
Known best for their songs: “Overcome”, “I Am Free”, “My Saviour Lives”, “Here in Your Presence”, “You Hold It All”, and “Yahweh”, the band released their 3rd album, titled Banner in September 2014. The album was recorded live during the July 2014 Desperation Conference and features 12 original tracks; lead by conference worship leaders Jon Egan, Nico Perez and the amazing Gina Milne.
My first listen to the album gave me the impression that it is through and through a youth worship album. My second listen showed me that it is a layered compilation, representing the various stages of praise and worship and I found a few worship songs that really stirred me up.
It’s obvious that the album was written with students in mind, with song titles such as “Future” and “Fun”. Both are upbeat, spunky, praise songs with the latter being especially interesting. The chorus simply says ‘We’re having fun/Oh oh/We’re having fun/Oh oh!’ I think that this track has the potential to be a hit at youth gatherings. “We’re taking a big risk with this one,” Egan says, “but why not celebrate the kind of love that frees us, gives us joy and allows us to have fun, to ‘dance with every reason to dance, sing with every reason to sing…'”
Title track, “Banner”, speaks about God being our banner, going before us, strong and mighty and never faltering. The melody is pretty straight forward and easy to learn. The song was written as an anthem and boldly declares God to be the great I am.
“On the throne” was written with Kari Jobe and Jason Ingram, with Jobe joining them on the recording… and, of course, I likey. This is one of my favourites on the album, partly because I love Kari Jobe that much but more because it’s a hard hitting worship song with a chorus that boldly proclaims ‘For the Lord is/He is able/He is faithful/Higher than the mountains that I face!’ The Bridge is also particularly powerful, speaking about God being glorious and sovereign over all. This song is not just for your youth meetings – I can definitely hear the bridge being sung on Sunday mornings as well. It’s one of those kinds of bridges.
I love the theme behind “You make a way”. Egan leads this worship song that speaks about God being our hope and strength. He has shared:” This song has been blowing up at our church and at youth events! I think they have really connected with it because it gives a voice to people believing for miracles!” Another worship song with potent lyrics, which speaks of relying on Him, was “We are Yours.” The opening lyric says ‘More transformation/less of the same/More of you Jesus leading the way.” There are many more ‘wow’ factors throughout this song, that speak such truths, that you can’t help but find yourself in a place of hope and faith after listening to it!
I really enjoyed “Closer to Your heart”! When I kept gushing on and on about it, my husband laughed at me (in all his musical-geniusness) and said that the song sounds very ‘old school’. But that is what I appreciate about it! The song features Bri Giles and has a really catchy, quirky melody and honest lyrics that simply say ‘All I want is to know You, Jesus/Draw me closer to Your heart.’
Another track that I couldn’t keep quiet about was “No one else.” Wow! Co-lead by Nico Perez and the fabulous Gina Milne, this track cut me to the core when I heard the chorus: ‘No one else pulls life from the wreckage/No one else lifts me from under the waves/My God You’ve broken my fall/God You’re stronger than it all.’ It’s a bold declaration, sung in a whisper, with the potential to really minister!
Can I end off by lauding Gina Milne again? She leads another worship track, “Multiply” and you can really get the feel of her level of intensity in that one. Her sweet voice really has depth and I thoroughly appreciated the deep lyric on the song, which speaks about giving God every aspect of your life, in order for Him to multiply it for His glory.
Youth worship leaders: this album is for you and was written with your young people in mind. Worshippers: you will enjoy the many worship tracks on this album, whether you are a ‘youth’ or not. The live recording was done with excellence, the musicianship and vocals were beautifully arranged and executed and the song writing is top notch. Great album!
To end, a quote from Jon Egan: “We’re not interested in being part of the worldwide movement that is modern worship-the albums, the sales, the touring, the photo shoots-because if it starts to pay back more than what it costs you, that’s when it gets dangerous. Worship is supposed to be carried on our backs; it’s supposed to be sweaty, to take some effort. That’s why it’s called a sacrifice of praise. That’s our life message.”