More than once upon a time, there's been a band that was ahead of their time, releasing an album to critical accolades and adoring response. In 1999 that band was Chasing Furies. The Furies emerged in the Christian music scene with a raw, poetic and worship-oriented lyricism and a fresh, innovative sound. Much like the title of their debut album, the band created music "with (carefree) abandon." And then, they promptly disappeared into obscurity. Until now, sort of. After an eight year absence from the national limelight, Sarah MacIntosh, Chasing Furies lead vocalist, song-writer and founding member, returns to the attention of the Christian music scene with the release of her solo album, The Waiters, The Watchers, The Listeners, The Keepers & Me.
MacIntosh's prowess as a singer and songwriter have not languished or dulled during her hiatus. While there is much that is reminiscent of Chasing Furies, the songs of The Waiters, The Watchers, The Listeners, The Keepers & Me confirm that her abilities have grown and matured ála Natalie Merchant's development apart from 10,000 Maniacs. The musical landscape of TW, TW, TL, TK & Me is an adroit fusion of pop and rock, accented by subtle touches of world-music influences. Much like the music, the album's lyrics are brashly worshipful and poetically simple.
The songs of The Waiters, The Watchers, The Listeners, The Keepers & Me encompass everything from the sparse and simplistic arrangements reminiscent of Norah Jones to the musical variety and intensity of KT Tunstall. MacIntosh's voice is an instrument itself. An outstanding example of this is the contrast between the silken reed of her vocals and the militaristic cadence of the snare drum in "Just Tell Me." She ranges from the ethereal and breathy in her delivery of "Did You Know" and "Be Glorified," to a luminous mezzo-soprano of "Where You'll Find Him" and "Sunshine."
If "(f)aith and joy are the ascensive forces of song," as American poet, critic and essayist Edmund Clarence Stedman asserted and it is also true that "(l)ife is a song and (l)ove is the music" then the songs of The Waiters, The Watchers, The Listeners, The Keepers & Me serve as a testimony of this singer/songwriter's masterful ability to craft breathing embodiments of Christian passion and élan. The poetic lyricism of TW, TW, TL, TK & Me is grounded authenticity- honest transparency, vulnerable dependency and earnest gratitude. Not a word or a note is wasted in this telling composition.
The Waiters, The Watchers, The Listeners, The Keepers & Me is a collection of inspired, beautiful and dynamic songs. If you're a fan of intelligent, delightful and relatable music in the vein of Michelle Tumes, Bebo Norman, Leigh Nash / Sixpence None the Richer and Jadon Lavik - make the effort to obtain this album and set aside the time to fully savor it.