|Kutless - This Is Christmas EP | Posted November 08, 2011
Kutless splashed into the Christian music scene back in 2001, and since then, it's been a non-stop roller coaster of success for this talented ensemble of Oregon based rockers. Having already accomplished everything from multiple live projects to two highly acclaimed worship records, not to mention the string of #1 hits to their name, Kutless has proven to be one of those bands that can take on a challenge and master it brilliantly.
So it should come as no surprise that when the band announced they were working on a Christmas project early in 2011, that their fans would expect anything shy of that brilliance.
“The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of the year,” says front man Jon Micah Sumrall. “It is a special time for us to enjoy family, festivities, and gift giving but most importantly to remember the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My hope is that this album will be an encouraging and festive reminder of why we celebrate Christmas.”
Having already added their musical gifting to various other Christmas projects in the past, the group's This Is Christmas EP, has been long awaited by fans, and boasts four of the most beloved Christmas songs ever, as well as two brand new songs.
The timeless holiday hit “O Holy Night” starts this album off on a sweeping and peaceful note. This definitely goes down as one of the more unique arrangements off this song with the inclusion and removal of certain lyrics at various points in the song, but still a good version overall. The project's namesake, co-written with songwriter Dave Lubben, serves as an anthem for the holiday. In a world where the meaning of Christmas can easily get lost in the glitz, “This Is Christmas” becomes a great reminder of the true why we celebrate the season.
“Breath Of Heaven”, the treasured Amy Grant hit, is an unusual addition to this EP. Sung from the perspective of Mary right before she gives birth to Jesus, it’s strange to hear it preformed by an all male group, but somehow, it works, and becomes a beautiful melody in the hands of Kutless.
The acoustic and breathy “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” stands out from the rest, bringing to mind some of the band’s earliest work. The true highlight on this album however, comes from a raw and chilling rendition of the Mark Lowery classic, “Mary Did You Know.” Jon Micah's vocals sit perfectly on top of this track and capture this bands ability to rock you one second, and turn around and haunt you the next.
All too short, this project finally comes to a close with “Beautiful,” a magnificent song relating the beauty of the season to the beauty of Christ and His love for us.
When an EP of any sort leaves you wanting more, it’s a good sign, and in this case, Kutless’ much anticipated This Is Christmas EP does just that. Filled with warm holiday sentiments, the heart behind every song is never lost. It may not have all the bells and whistles of other albums in the same genera, but what is lacks in style it makes up for in substance. This project is the perfect backdrop for any Christmas celebration among family and friends, and is hopefully a foretaste of a full-length Kutless Christmas album somewhere down the road. Regardless if that ever happens though, this is a must-have album for longtime followers of the group, and something Christian music fans in general would be doing themselves a great favor by picking up.
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