On the surface, the word worship evokes thoughts of crying out to God in song, or the time spent each Sunday morning attending church services. We come together to express our love for our Creator, and we are exposed to the life changing good news. After experiencing this week after week, we should be spurred to action to be a living picture of Christ’s love for us to a world in need. We should long for something deeper.
Dove Award nominated Pocket Full of Rocks’ third album, More than Noise, encourages the church to do just that. Helmed by Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Leeland), this message is matched with stellar production. “A lot of what I’ve been sharing out on the road deals with losing your religion and finding relationship with an amazing God,” says Michael Farren, the band’s lead singer/songwriter. “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.”
Farren set out to write and co-write songs in light of this conviction. Interestingly, this would prove to be a first, since the band has previously been known for spontaneously composing the bulk of their songs while leading worship with an audience. One result of this new approach, lead single “Alive,” instantly engages with its message of living loudly for the One who gives us life. Co-written with Delirious’ Stu G, the song opens with a passionate and intense vocal over the guitar groove of Ryan Riggins. Jody Crump (bass) and David Rollins (drums) provide the driving foundation.
While firmly planted in a rock vein, it fits seamlessly within the framework of the record, and provides a stellar first glimpse. “The lyrics say it all. We were dead in our trespasses and sins, and He makes us alive,” says Farren. “Come As You Are” is a touching invitation that reminds us it’s not about how good we are, but how good He is. A self-professed ‘ballad guy,’ Farren co-wrote the song with powerhouse writers Chad Cates and Tony Wood. With a melodic piano and vocal introduction that builds to a chorus soaring with harmonies provided by Alisa Farren (Michael’s wife and fellow band mate), this is sure to take its rightful place among the altar call standards.
Another first on the album is “When Love Whispers Your Name,” written with Farren’s 14-year-old daughter, Madison. The piano-driven track marks a new direction for the band, while shedding light on heartbreaking stories that are all too real in our society. Farren says, “Our base theme is that God loves you a whole lot, and religion has made you blind to it. So what does God’s love actually look like? We wanted to write a song about grace, and what Love does through it. Both verses of the song are based on situations we are aware of.” Farren sees this song as a natural progression for the band, marrying worship moments with ministry moments.
One of the band’s most well known ‘spontaneous’ moments did in fact make it on the record. “Let it Rain,” which appeared on Michael W. Smith’s platinum selling Worship, showcases the amazing way God breathes songs through the band. This anthem, birthed at an all night revival in Texarkana, Texas, found its way into churches across America. The band had never tracked the song in the studio, and had no plans to for this record. That was until Cash heard them playing through it, and said, “We have to do something with that!” He immediately started building a track, and had the band play through again with it. They were amazed at how the song became alive again. “That was such a cool opportunity, to be able to record this song after playing it live for ten years,” says Farren.
After 14 years of ministry across the country, Pocket Full of Rocks returns with an album that is at times vibrant and vertical, then quiet and clear. This seasoned band has been given a message that deserves to be heard over the clatter of the culture. We are called to be salt and light to a world in need, to see that our worship spurs us to action. Our worship must be More Than Noise.