More than Noise is what listeners will hear from Pocket Full Of Rocks’ newest recording this spring. Produced by Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Bebo Norman, Bethany Dillon), fans will be pleasantly surprised by the new, more aggressive sound from the group who found a way to creatively progress while maintaining the familiar passion and worship sound that lived on previous projects Manifesto and song to the king. Frontman Michael Farren’s compelling vocals take listeners on quite a journey opening with the uptempo, energy-filled single, “Alive” and draws them back in with “Come As You Are”, “Ever Close To You,” and an acoustic version of “Let It Rain.” This new sound and direction is sure to make “Pocket Full Of Rocks” a name that we will hear for years to come.
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REVERENT BUT UNREMARKABLE PRAISE| Posted March 23, 2010
Though always a staple on the underground worship scene, Pocket Full of Rocks didn't achieve household recognition until Michael W. Smith covered "Let It Rain" on his platinum-selling project Worship. From there, the group inked a deal with the recently revived Myrrh Records and is currently dropping its third studio CD. Like its previous two projects, More Than Noise finds the group turning in a mildly likeable, albeit generally unremarkable, batch of praise tunes that don't break the genre's mold but are no doubt reverent with their intention.
Under the glistening production of Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Steven Curtis Chapman), the five-piece band turns in tight but typical vertical pop with tracks like "Alive" and "Strong," recalling the less progressive era of MercyMe or the generic flavors of Big Daddy Weave. The ballad "Come as You Are" tells the timeless truth of unconditional grace, which will surely resonate with those on their last strand of hope, despite the middle-of-the-road delivery.
Ironically, a re-recording of the group's very own "Let It Rain" is the hands-down highlight of the album, not just because of its familiarity but due to a swelling arrangement that overflows with passion and power. It's too bad that creative drive couldn't continue on the rest of collection, which isn't to say Pocket Full of Rocks doesn't possess talent but is once again playing its cards way too safely. -Andy Argyrakis
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CCMMagazine.com. Click here to visit CCMMagazine.com today!
Review: “More Than Noise”, Pocket Full Of Rocks| Posted May 01, 2010
Though new to me, “More Than Noise” is the third studio album from Pocket Full Of Rocks and is set to release March 2, 2010 on Myrrh Records.
PFOR’s lead singer/songwriter Michael Farren had this to say, “A lot of what I’ve been sharing out on the road deals with losing your religion and finding relationship with an amazing God.” I personally believe that the message conveyed in these words and the title of the album are critical and vital for the Church at this time.
This seasoned five-piece, worship-focused band clearly have a message that, in my opinion, deserves to be heard. Listen to what else they had to say:
“Much of our message is that you’ve got to make more than noise. It’s easy to just walk into a room, sing the songs on the screen and lift your hands; but if you can walk out and not be transformed or see the world around you transformed, then that wasn’t worship. Real worship comes with change, both in you, and the world around you. If you encounter a real God in a real setting of worship, you can’t leave the same.“
Musically, PFOR’s style is, for me, reminiscent of Casting Crowns and Michael Farren’s vocal reminded me in places of Tom Petty. More Than Noise was produced by the more than capable Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Leeland, Steven Curtis Chapman, Bebo Norman) and from the opening song, “Alive” – the first single (co-written with Stu G, Delirious) – the album resonates with a vibrancy & passion (captured both musically and lyrically) that stirs your heart, fixes your attention firmly on the love, grace and goodness of God, and inspires and invokes heartfelt worship.
The album contains a number of songs that could easily be sung by congregations in a corporate gathering; songs like the anthemic ballads, “Ever Close To You“, “Wonderful” and “Let It Rain” (the song made popular on Michael W. Smith’s Worship Album – written by PFOR’s Michael Farren); the hymn-like, “Jesus Died My Soul To Save” and “Your Love For Me“; and the driving, “Let Our God Be Praised” and the opener “Alive“.
There are also songs that tell a story; songs like, “Strong“, “When Love Whispers Your Name” (written with Farren’s 14 year old daughter, Madison) and “Come As You Are” (co-written with Chad Cates & Tony Wood) – I love the opening lyric to this song, “He’s not mad at you and He’s not disappointed. His grace is greater still than all of your wrong choices.“
One of the songs which stands out for me is the final track, “A Worshipper’s Prayer“. It is a beautiful, intimate and honest song which brought me to tears when I first heard it; stripped down musically (piano & strings), you can hear the emotion in Farren’s voice as it cracks over the lyric:
“Here I am
And like a thousand times before I sing again
And when all my simple words have found their end
Once again I’m even more amazed
By the beauty and the mystery of your ways
Oh how marvelous to hear You call my name
So when there’s nothing left to bring
And there’s no song left to sing
Here I am.“
Worship was never about the songs we sing. It is so much more than that. I think PFOR understand that.
I shall be playing this album for some time to come!
Worth The Wait!| Posted March 12, 2010
I had my first introduction to this band a few years ago at Super Summer, even had the chance to meet a few of the meembers, and became a fan of theirs! I loved the music, the way they were able to communicate with the kids and really relate with them through their music. The problem was they didn't have many albums out and I was having to wait for them to write more so I could enjoy it and introduce others to them. The wait paid off! The album they porduced was fantasic! I had a sense of true Worship, learned something more of their walk with Christ and heard new music. Thanks, Guys;
Awesome| Posted March 05, 2010
I first heard the single "Alive" on the radio and got hooked. This song is great and was backed up by other great songs on the album. Pocket Full of Rocks has done very well on this record.
Definitely more than "noise"| Posted March 02, 2010
“With every breath and every song I sing, I echo back Your love for me”
This statement from the liner notes of Pocket Full of Rocks’ third major studio release sums up both the spirit and the intent of the album perfectly. The release is all about a heartfelt love for an ever-loving Savior, God and King.
The album opens with a pair of songs that flow straight from a grateful heart. “Alive” is a rollicking anthem – a joyful celebration of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, while “Strong” is a powerful statement of humble confidence and unwavering faith in the God who understands our weaknesses and sympathizes with our pain.
With the table set, Pocket serves up some sweet food for the soul in the next three songs. “Come As You Are” is a plaintive, almost mournful plea for all who are lost or broken to give Jesus a chance to heal them and lead them home. You can feel the heartache in Michael Farren’s vocal. A great companion piece to this song is “Ever Close To You”, a song written from the point of view of one who has already come to Christ and now longs for nothing more than to remain in “such holy, sweet communion”.
“Jesus Dies My Soul to Save” serves as the albums centerpiece – a modern hymn as simple and powerful as any written by Wesley or Luther centuries ago. The theme of the entire album is summed up in the chorus: “How my grateful heart now aches/to say it louder, the refrain/Jesus died my soul to save”. This song should be sung in congregational settings for generations to come.
In the “good old days” of the vinyl LP, “Let God Be Praised” would be the perfect song to open the second side of the album! It is an up-tempo, God-centered tune that reminds us there are an infinite number of things about God that are praiseworthy! We can sing His praises 24/7 for the rest of eternity and never run out of reasons to worship Him.
This shout of joyous praise is followed by “Wonderful”, an absolutely lovely (perfect?) love song to our Lord and Savior, and “Let It Rain”, which may be one of the most beautiful and powerful worship songs ever written – an out-and-out cry for the Holy Spirit to pour Himself out in unending measure. Some listeners may be familiar with older versions by Michael W. Smith (2001) or Bishop Paul S. Morton (2003), but here Pocket offers the definitive version of the Farren-penned tune.
As great as the music has been up to this point, the disc ends with my three favorite songs.
“Your Love For Me” is the beautiful ballad quoted in the liner notes – a perfect reminder that our gratitude toward a loving Savior must be played out in deeds as well as in words; by showing and sharing His love with everyone around us, in good times and in bad, regardless of what it might “cost” us.
…and the thought of sharing God’s love is a perfect segue to what may be the albums most powerful song, “When Love Whispers Your Name”. This tune, partially penned and sung by Farren’s teenage daughter Madison, is all about reaching out to those who have lost hope amidst “a wave of fears and a flood of tears”. If we, as professed followers of Christ, will not love the “unlovable” in meaningful and tangible ways, we do the cause of Christ more harm than good.
The album closes with “A Worshippers Prayer”, a quiet, meditative summary of all the records’ themes. Here Farren acknowledges that his songs – as beautiful, touching and truth-filled as they are – remain an inadequate expression of his love for God and his gratitude for the mercy extended him – and us. When all is said and done, the true worshipper can only say, “Here I am”.
If any criticism is warrented, it is, as another reviewer has noted, that there simply isn't enough of these great songs! More from Pocket? Yes, please!
For more than a decade, PFOR has been a “well kept secret” in the modern worship music pantheon. With the release of “More Than Noise”, that should change quickly. Buy the album. See the band if they come anywhere near you. You won’t be disappointed – I guarantee it.
"That is why I cannot remain silent (further, it would be inappropriate to do so) about the great favours and graces which the Lord deigned to grant me in the land of my captivity. For the way to make repayment for that revelation of God through capture and enslavement is to declare and make known His wonders to every race under heaven."
Solid Sound, and great songs| Posted February 18, 2010
Being somewhat of a vetran of the Christian Music Industry (as a consumer mostly), im not sure how this band slipped through my attention till now. Pocket Full of Rocks has a great sound - the lead singer has an amazing voice, and the songs are both catchy and meaningful.
There are several songs that i learned they wrote, several years ago, that have been covered by some major Christian music artists. The song "Let it Rain" is a great song that was released, most recently, by Micheal W Smith.
This CD is a great album and i wish there were more songs. (They wrote over 50 for the album, and narrowed it down to 11 !)