A Guided Encounter
Posted September 01, 2017
By MaryNikkel_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Urban Rescue has made waves far beyond their native L.A. with a worship sound that is at once both experimental and grounded in the deepest truths. Their latest release City Sessions (Live in Los Angeles) continues in that tradition.
The seven songs on this EP find their unifying musical theme in synth patterns that create an otherworldly ambience. The opener "Holy Ground" features that electronic landscape accented by clear vocals from Meaghan Maples behind lead singer Jordan Frye's steady tones. Melodically lush "The Reason" offers that same sound complemented by percussion with a slightly faster tempo.
Urban Rescue knows when to employ organic elements as well however. The acoustic guitar in "Never Stop" evokes the sense of a campfire worship session, singing "You cross the canyons of my fear, over the oceans of my tears / like the wind that moves the trees, your love is chasing after me." Redemptive ballad "Up From the Ashes" employs a very traditional piano tone over the synths paired with claps as percussion to root the song in familiar musical territory.
Thematically, Urban Rescue does an exceptional job of structuring a natural progression in the tracks. Opener "Freedom" is an ethereal invitation into the freedom we have through the Spirit--freedom that is a necessary precursor to praise. "Up From the Ashes" celebrates our redemption, then "Unconditional" follows directly after to show that same redemption through the eyes of a God who loves unconditionally. "The Reason" offers resolve in the lyrics "From darkness into color, you've opened up my eyes / You're everything I seek, you're the reason I'm alive." The project concludes with worship turned to action in "Walls," a collaboration with rapper Derek Minor that challenges us to extend the love of God to others. This thematic progression creates a sense of fullness and completion in just a seven song run time.
The Bottom Line: City Sessions guides an encounter with a fiercely compassionate God. Urban Rescue excels at crafting intentional yet poetic lyrics and carrying the listener through a cohesive journey. In the overflow of worship release this year, City Sessions is a soul-nurturing experience you won't want to overlook.
Song to Download Now:
"Unconditional" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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