Music Review by Luchae Williams
This week I will be reviewing the latest offering of Elevation Worship — a worship band hailing from Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. They’ve apparently been around since 2007 which was news to me since I had only heard of them for the first time last year when I was introduced to one of their amazing worship tracks called “Greater”. I was quite curious when I found out about the release of the worship ensemble’s 4th and latest album, Wake Up the Wonder, which was recorded live in August 2014 with a crowd of about 16 000 worshippers. Curious because I loved the simplicity and power of “Greater” but also because there are so many worship bands out there and to be honest, sometimes a band sounds like a band sounds like a band. But based on YouTube videos and having a small listen to some of their other stuff, I quite liked their sound. My first thoughts on the album were that they sounded somewhat like Planet Shakers. My second thoughts were “Hey, I could really get into this!”
I think that track 2 is what got me hooked. Titled, “Unstoppable”, it speaks about our unrelenting God who makes the impossible, possible. The melody is really catchy and I particularly enjoyed the timing switch between the verses and chorus. This is an anthem and would do really well in youth group worship sets. The bridge is really catchy, with tribal drums and a chant that can make you lose your marbles during praise. In a good way.
“Look how He lifted me” also has a youth vibe and is such a fun sing-a-long song and great reminder of the victory we have in Christ! The reality that these lyrics speak about is enough to make anyone want to jump around with abandon!
Another song that had me bopping’ was “Standing” which says ‘Yes my soul says yes/My soul says yes to your promises!’ I loved the almost African sound the song has and my spirit totally resonates with the lyrics.
The album’s first worship track is track 3, “Jesus I come”. This is a classic worship song and I must admit my favourite part of the whole thing is the bridge which says ‘Thank you Jesus/Just as I am I come/Hallelujah/Oh what amazing love.’ As far as worship tracks go, I much preferred “Jesus forever” which has wordier verses but pulled at my spirit more. It could be the conviction in which the singer is delivering it, or perhaps the declarative message that it shares, but either way, it’s a fave!
I loved the groove on “The King is among us” – it grabbed me from the first few notes. The song has a steady build up, with the chorus singing about the need for a Holy Spirit revival. The lyrics are really powerful and speak to a heart that yearns for the manifest presence of God, with a bridge that says ‘The King is among us/And His glory surrounds us/And His fire is falling as we sing.’ Enter: Auto tune. Yep, this track has a bit of auto tune during the interlude. Quite different and unexpected – which might be a hindrance to some, but it really did not take away from the song for me. For lead, Matt Brock, this was an artistic expression of his worship to the Lord done on a separate mic (which had auto tune on it), during the live recording.
Other worshipful tracks I enjoyed were “You have done great things” and “Fortress” if you are into declarative worship tracks that have an easy melody and are very sing-along-able then you would enjoy these as well. A must mention is “I love you Lord” which is sung by Amy Corbett. It is a sweet love song to the Lord that has simple instrumentation, with Corbett’s voice not doing much vocally, but there is a beauty in simplicity if it is done with the right heart!
This album was clearly written with the congregation in mind and most, if not all, of its songs can be adapted to suit church services or youth meetings. The melodies are easy to learn, the words are psalms and hymns written for a more corporate setting and the instrumentation can be fitted from a 1 man band to an ensemble of 8 musicians. All in all, I enjoyed this album and look forward to hearing more stuff from them in the future!