Eric & Monique’s latest album Everlasting, produced by Dale Willis and mastered by Grammy award-winner William Bowden, is an album encased with motifs inspired by Isaiah 40:28, yet fleshed out in lyrics loaded with gravitas, raw honesty, and deeply biblical content. Musically, the album is the fruit of collaboration, with a cinematic thread woven through elements of folk, pop and alternative sounds underscoring raw and emotional vocals.
With a lyrical narrative of two acts, Everlasting, at it’s base level explores the struggle between doubt and faith. In opener “Temporary”, Australiana flavour encases specific language that lays out the struggle of Romans 7:15-25. The classical flavours of Eric’s skilled piano are layered in the cinematic orchestration of “Don’t Miss the Boat” to express the lyrics “This world is out of control. Spinning round in circles. Blurring all our morals. What’s right? What’s wrong?” This inner conflict is continued in “Doubting Thomas” with a soundscape echoing anthemic qualities and the lyrics “I know that You’re there, even when I don’t feel so”. With a folk melody of acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjo, Everlasting’s centre track “Surrender” concludes the album’s first act dealing with spiritual struggle and points towards the second act that focus’ on faith and the Everlasting God. “God Is Love” and “Thank You” were the only two tracks on the album for the vocals to be recorded in one take each. This detail imbues a quiet atmosphere of praise in both the carefully crafted lyrics and the sparse, raw instrumentation. The closing track “There We Rise” is a jubilant call in both lyrical content and orchestration that follows Eric’s piano towards to the hope and assurance we have in Jesus Christ.
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Eyes on the Everlasting| Posted July 22, 2015
Much of the world is just beginning to hear about Australian husband and wife duo Eric & Monique, but it's an introduction that is long overdue. With ethereal tones reminiscent of Gungor and the lyrical accessibility of All Sons & Daughters, Eric and Monique Johnson have established a special sonic chemistry. This sound is captured beautifully in their latest release, Everlasting.
The album is structured in two "acts," with the first half wrestling with the conflict between doubt and faith and the second half resolving the tension in unrestricted worship. "Doubting Thomas" is representative of the first half, with bright piano supporting the admission "I know that You're there, even when I don't feel so." Haunting "Don't Miss the Boat" utilizes organs to create an otherworldly, almost apocalyptic sound as it cautions listeners not to lose sight of what actually matters (Jesus) amid cultural chaos.
The second half begins with title track "Everlasting," a track that is joyful in its sense of awe as it recognizes the eternal qualities of God. This track is an album highlight, underscored by piano which draws out the emotions of the lyrics. "There We Rise" serves as the closer of the album, wrapping it up on a note of hope as it looks towards Christ's return.
Musically, the album is at its best when it leans towards the orchestral, with strings swelling behind the piano framework as Eric and Monique's gorgeous vocals weave in and out. "Orion" is the perfect example of this dynamic, creating an ethereal musical landscape behind vivid yet reverent lyrics.
Closing Thoughts: Everlasting is soothing and engaging in all the right moments, evoking worshipful awe and quiet surrender. Although the tracks that lean more towards the folk end of the spectrum seem to struggle a little bit with finding their footing, the sweeping sounds of the musical epic tracks absolutely find their mark. This is a must-listen for fans of Gungor, The Brilliance, Bethel Music and All Sons & Daughters, proving the vast potential of this duo from down under.
Song to Download Now:
"Orion" (Get it on iTunes here.)