A Powerful Musical Experience
Posted October 17, 2011
By KellyS, Staff Reviewer
First bursting onto the scene in 2010 with their radio hit “Manifesto,” The City Harmonic has quickly become a well-known new face in Christian music. This Canadian foursome is “bent on living today for the world to come” and their first full-length album, I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home), is perfect evidence of this.
The opening track “Yours” begins with a lone electric guitar, as drums and piano enter. It has an ethereal sound that draws you in and as singer/songwriter, Elias Dummer adds his voice to the mix, it’s obvious this isn’t your run of the mill worship album. As the song progresses, the music swells and voices are added, creating a depth of sound and emotion. Dummer repeats “You can have it all, it’s Yours, all of it Yours.” These are simple lyrics, but the sound these musicians have created reveals the heart behind them.
“Spark” could be considered a new take on the childhood favorite “This Little Light Of Mine.” Dummer sings in Chris Martin style, “This little light’s gonna shine, with just a spark, light a fire,” impressing upon listeners that in the right hands, the simplest of deeds can make a big difference. “Just a spark can change a heart,” he sings.
With an album entitled I Have A Dream, the words of Martin Luther King Jr. were bound to make an appearance. “Mountaintop” opens with a recording of King proclaiming, “I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.” Using this reference as a symbol of God’s people one day seeing their Maker face to face, this song also reveals that the Kingdom of God is here and now. The chorus reiterates, “we’ve been to the mountaintop, we’ve seen the glory of our God…He is here in the valley low, He’s here I feel it in my bones, our God here and now, we are the body of our God.” There is hope that one day all will be made right, but as the body of Christ, we can make a difference in the world right now.
“Fell Apart” and “Wake Me Up” have poignant lyrics that come from a personal place of brokenness and repentance. In “Fell Apart” Dummer sings, “You’re something real in the world of fake,” praising God for Who He is… more than words on a page. In “Wake Me Up” Dummer admits, “I was so busy living, I forgot to be alive… In the darkest of nights, you wake me up to shine.” Sometimes it takes the struggles and hardest times in our lives to wake us up to what God truly has for us.
Title track “I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)” talks about the day Jesus will return to take us home. Dummer admits “there’s no place like home,” and as we journey through this world of heartbreak and disappointment, we have hope because this is not our home.
The final track on the album, “Benediction” leaves the listener with these parting words. “Live like you mean it, sing like you’re livin’ for God.” It’s pretty obvious The City Harmonic expects those who listen to their music to join them in acting on what they hear.
If Coldplay were a worship band, this is what they’d sound like. The City Harmonic has a sound unlike any other in Christian music today. So much so, I hesitate to even call them a band, but rather musicians because the quality of the music is so powerful. At times the music speaks louder than the lyrics themselves because it comes from the heart. Every song on this album has an extremely anthemic and full sound that continuously builds until coming to an abrupt end with the last note hanging in the balance. This leaves the song feeling unfinished, but perhaps that’s the point. We’re not home yet and until we are, we will never feel complete. The City Harmonic is a welcome addition to the variety of Christian music already out there and I look forward to seeing where this journey takes them.
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