Posted December 04, 2008
It's tough for me to review EP's since I usually never buy them for their lack of substance. However, when one of my favorite bands hasn't released any new material in close to 4 years I tend to get giddy with excitement and make exceptions... and it was a wise choice.
Yeah, it's only 4 songs, but they combine for a solid 20 minutes of music that I can't get enough of. In a recent interview, Gabriel (vocalist) stated that these songs are the most accessible of the 30-some-odd new songs they've cooked up. They are supposedly more lighthearted and upbeat in nature than those that will be appearing on their sophomore release in early 2009.
Right off the bat with 'The End' I can hear that it is, indeed, more upbeat than their debut album. The lyrics are still spot on as always with the main subject being about situations Gabriel has walked through the past 3 years. 'When' covers the topic of prayer seeming to hit a ceiling when you are going through hard times and it's actually incredibly uplifting. The song has a techno-style beat to it as it builds to the addictive chorus. The following song, 'Prayer in the Dark', almost has a Newsboys quality to it as a feeling of wanting to dance to the beat comes over you, though Gabe's voice is much lower and brooding.
That's really the difference in these songs when compared to their debut. These have more of a dance quality that doesn't quite match up to Gabe's style of singing whereas the debut had that dark and droning music that complimented the lyrics and vocals.
The final song is much more in line with their debut and that's probably why it's my favorite. I sincerely hope it's on the upcoming album because it's just beautiful. After an old fashioned radio transmission fades out to start the song a beautiful guitar line kicks in and then an electronic beat over drums ensues. The tone is certainly melancholic along with the lyrics and that's where you realize how powerful this song is. Gabriel sings "I'm going to fight with you/I'm going to bleed with you/I'm going to cry with you/Until this wall comes close". I suppose it could either be heard as a love song or one of comfort from God's perspective. This is all combined with the brilliant music to become an epic song.
All in all, I love the new sound and though 4 songs isn't enough to hold be over for very long I'm glad to have them. From the sound of it I count my blessings that The Listening are still making music because they very nearly broke up with only Gabriel being the lone founding member from 2005. The fact that he kept their sound intact and progressed it with a new lineup after all these years is astounding.
Overall - 9.0/10
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