Of Light and Shadows
Posted August 04, 2017
By MarcusHathcock_NRT, Staff Reviewer
In 2013, during their first year as a band, Maine's Chasing The Light played an atypical 56 shows, and their rise has been steady ever since. Made up of brothers Abraham and Jonathan Stephens, as well as Nathaniel DeLeon and Aaron O'Neil, Chasing The Light has played to crowds large and small, from intimate venues to massive, 20,000-person festivals.
Four years into this, the band has released its five-track EP, titled Horizons--a collection of songs about faith, hope, focus and the conflict between "chasing the light" and shadows.
The band clearly shows that its musicality--certainly helped by excellent production--is the product of band members well-versed in the pop/rock arts. Citing influences such as Switchfoot, The Killers, Coldplay and Mat Kearney (who himself had an album titled Chasing The Light), Shadows reflects an accessibility that matches many of today's big-name Christian acts.
References to light abound on this EP, from the energetic opener, "Spark," that cries out to God for a spark of hope in a dark and fearful world. With "One Chance," lights become a distraction, as in the bright lights of stardom, whereby the band declares its intention to keep their eyes on Jesus.
"Strength" prays, "turn my night into the day," while the closer "My Love" declares, "And after everything, I can finally see." Lyrically, while there's certainly room to grow, the band finds some good moments with unexpected vocal phrasing and unpredictable themes.
The album highlight for me is "You," the one overtly worshipful, vertical track on the project. In a period of musical history deluged with worship music, this still feels right. It's somewhat intangible, but in this song, we get a deeper sense of the heart of this band.
Musically speaking, there's a lot to love. Throughout the record, Chasing The Light doesn't fall into the typical trap of deploying the hottest musical trends, instead opting for a more timeless approach. Mixing piano, acoustic and electric guitars, and the light touches of synth, Horizons carries instrumentalism that is at once fresh and not easily dated. And they definitely get the benefits of well-placed guitar/piano/synth riffs in their songs.
Christian music fans will find shades of their favorite bands in Chasing The Light. "Spark" gave us all the feels as it invoked vibes of the MIA band Everfound. "One Chance" carried tones of a triumphant Matt Hammitt/Sanctus Real jam. "Strength" is driving and high-powered, like the aforementioned band The Killers, but perhaps even more like Anberlin. Things chill out at the end, with The City Harmonic-style piano balladry "You" and the harmony-rich, NEEDTOBREATHE-like "My Love."
The Bottom Line:
Chasing The Light presents the poise and production of industry veterans, and with Horizons, they've given Christian music fans five songs that will sound familiar but fresh. With just a few songs, they've shown a diversity of sound, focus and prose, while somehow tying it all together. They're a few co-writes away from achieving A-list status in the industry, and we can't wait to see what comes next.
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