Church music is becoming less and less like church music and the paradox of this fits well with the new United Album 'aftermath'. The album's theme is about the paradox nature of the cross... a symbol of failure and death, now a symbol of life and victory.
So what does church music sound like?
Well if you are a fan of Martin Luther then you may be a fan of church music sounding like the music that is played outside the church... if that is the case then you might like this album. This album has a real UK Indie rock feel... and it adds to the album as a whole.
The album starts off with a delicate almost 'Dylanesque' song called 'Take Heart' written by Joel Houston starts of the album... a song about hope in the middle of all the doom and gloom in the world at the moment, a perfect start to ANY ablum... the next song 'Go' slides back into the style you are most used to with this band, good old fashioned indie rock... this proves to be a red herring.
This album is really diverse and I love this album for that... but at the same time this album seems strangely familiar, United have been doing their homework... taking the best of their favourite bands and artists and making it United-ish... there was more than a couple of times when I thought "wow that sounds just like..." but it really didn't matter, because it was done so well. 'Bones' has Sarah Mclachlan almost celtic feel.
'Aftermath' builds in a way that only Hillsong can (similar to 'This is our God') using the bridge as the high point of the song, I can't remember a Christian band doing this so well since Delirious?
The real difference is for this album the keyboards are starting to come to the front once again... this comes out the most on 'Light will Shine' mixing a quirky keyboard motif and pop rock styles usually the realm of bands like David Crowder Band... and with bands touring more and more together with conferences like Passion there may be more bands trying new styles. I personally think this is great, anything to get Christian music sounding better gets a thumbs up from me...
Those who have known Hillsong for any length of time would know there is always at least one anthemic 'Conference' song and 'Nova'foots that bill directing everyone back to God... imagine a whole conference singing "Our God be praised forever"
The album finishes with a song we've been singing along with for a while the Reuben Morgan and Chris Tomlin collaboration"Awakening"... now before you think "I'll skip that song... this has been done differently to what you have heard before this version is a lot more raw, even grungier.
This is a great album...
Is it a great church album? I'm not sure... there may be a few songs that can be used "Search my heart" comes to mind...
But I'm in the belief that the songs have to be simple... in a good key for people to song and easy to pick up... I'm just not sure that 'aftermath' ticks all those boxes.
It is however a great Christian album.
If that's enough for you to worship with... then listen to this album.
If you like this album check out: Leeland 'Opposite Way'