Luminate [Come Home]
Posted January 20, 2011
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Luminate is a band from Tyler, TX that was formed in the fall of 2005 by two students attending Visible School of Music in Memphis, TN. Best described as passionate, stirring and worshipful, Luminate's musical core is formed around an ambient rock sound. Their songs challenge us to rise above the apathy in today's society, and to pursue our dreams with purpose, while reminding us our lives and what we do has worth. Singer/lyricist/rhythm guitarist, Sam Hancock, writes poignant and meaningful lyrics with anthemic choruses that usher crowds into a corporate experience with God. Lead guitarist, Cody Clark, complements the melodies with reverb and delay-laden guitar riffs, while keyboardist/background vocalist, Dustin DeLong, adds ambient warm touches. Mix in the rhythmic bass lines of bassist, Dusty Jakubik, and the power of drummer, Aaron Mathew, and a song of vision, faith and thirst for God is sung.
Bringing an abundance of emotional and epic songs to the studio, the band joined forces with highly-acclaimed producers Paul Moak and Ed Cash to record the new album Come Home, released January 25, 2011. I would not normally write a review starting with the last two songs, however I originally listened to this album in alphabetical song order and two songs I kept playing over and over are “Destiny” and “This Is Love.” As I listened to the album in the correct song order, I was thrilled that those songs close out this excellent album, one of my early favorites of the year. “Destiny” is a stunning song which starts as a reflective ballad and builds to an incredible crescendo “We won’t give up, we won’t give up, ‘cause You gave Your Son, and You paid our price, so we give our lives!” with Stu G. from Delirious? adding his signature guitar licks to this standout song. The album ends with “This Is Love,” which starts as an acoustic guitar ballad and Sam’s yearning for God is infectious: “This is love, keeping me awake tonight, this is love, I can’t free You from mind, “’cause I’ve never felt a part of something greater than myself, until now, I’m waking up, this is love.” I’m totally a lyrics guy, so I’m really thrilled that this album delivers in all of the categories that generally make an incredible album, top notch music, personal, introspective and challenging lyrics and passionate vocals. Opening songs “Innocent” and “Healing In Your Arms” delivers on all levels with the pulsing pop music and upbeat melody.
Title track and hit single “Come Home” is a prodigal son story song based on Sam’s true personal awakening to his saving faith in Jesus and was written about choosing to “come home” and reunite with his band after spending time in Los Angeles considering a career in mainstream music. The song has one of the catchiest musical hooks I’ve ever heard and I literally get goose bumps when Sam belts out the amazing second verse “There’s power in the blood of Jesus, Your Father’s screaming just come home!, He’s reaching out His hands.” This is one of the best songs of the year for sure and really exemplifies the strong combination of catchy music and moving lyrics and vocals. “What I Live For,” “All I Want” and “Hope Is Rising” are more strong statements of faith. “New Beginnings” is about finding hope, peace and purpose in Christ, and thematically links to the proclamation in the title track. “Atmosphere” is another standout song, which slows the tempo down and features stellar female harmony vocals by Kate York. I’d love to hear more female harmonies in future songs by this up and coming band, one of the best new bands I’ve heard since Dove Award winning new artist The Afters.
If you like OneRepublic, The Afters, Chris Tomlin and Brandon Heath, then you’ll really enjoy this new band. They have a very polished pop sound mixed with meaningful and personal lyrics. To me, Sam Hancock is a potential male vocalist of the year and I find myself hanging on every word he sings as his vocals are passionate and reverberate from my speakers. All twelve songs are unashamed of the Gospel and this is the type of band you’ll want to tell others about. The album could come with one of those “satisfaction guaranteed” recommendations as the themes appeal to anyone and musically their sound is extremely radio friendly. After repeated listens, the songs get deeper into the recesses of your heart with the challenging messages. I love every song and consider them a band to watch. I consider Luminate the “next big thing” based on this excellent album, an early contender for one of my top albums of the year.
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