Posted May 10, 2013
By MarkRyan_NRT, Staff Reviewer
The Fire is the debut solo project from Samuel Lane, Worship Pastor at Vineyard, St. Alban's in the UK. It is a soulful worship project that reaches to the heart of the Father. The album is a collection of mostly new songs from the Vineyard movement in the UK with the majority of writing credits going to Mr. Lane. The album is very acoustically driven with a focus on vocals. It is a studio project which leaves the listener wanting a little more of the experience of worship, while at the same time allowing us to create our own experience in our secret places.
The album opens with "Take Me With You." The song is a wonderfully lyrical piece focusing on our journey with God and a desire for God's will to be done in our lives. It is a lovely piece that showcases Lane's vocal abilities. The album continues with "Fiery Love," the melodic undertone continues yet with a more driven drum line and more desperate lyrics. A man's heart-cry for the Holy Spirit to come and light him up with hands that hold his heart with fiery love.
The tempo shifts yet again on "O My Soul." Lane's rich vocals laid over a simple picking guitar leads the listener to close their eyes and join in. In classic Vineyard fashion, the focus is all on God and on what He has done for us. The song builds with keys, drums, tambourine and backup singers as the lyrics repeat ,"O my soul praise, praise Him." Church has started and we are now committed as listeners to follow through on this journey.
"The Father" seems to move the listener closer to God. The vocals are subdued and invoke imagery of rest. Sitting with the Father on the mountaintop and knowing that this is where we belong. "Presence and Peace" continues on this thematic vein of resting in the presence of God. The vocals are amazing on this song with Lane using a layered falsetto that is echoed by the organ during the break.
The low point of the album for me is Lane's rendition of the Jeremy Riddle song "Fall Afresh." Having heard the other recordings of this song, this version was just a little too far off the original for me. It is stripped down to vocals, guitar with some organ for accent. It is a bold musical statement that sadly falls a little short.
"Your Love Endures" is the only other song on the album that Lane does not have a writing credit on. At first listen it reminded this reviewer of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow/Wonderful World" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole with some Jason Mraz thrown in for good measure. The song speaks to the enduring love of God from "the depths to the highest stars."
The album closes out with "The Road." This may be the perfect closing to where things started. It is about the narrow road, the journey that we all take as believers. The road that we follow as God answers the initial prayer on the album to take us to Him.
This is a beautiful album on all fronts, musically, lyrically and spiritually. Lane's vocals are intense, yet subdued. They juxtapose nicely to simple instrumentation with is balanced with the complex layering of the simple elements. The tone of Lane's vocals is Springsteen-esque. It is an album that has to be listened to in order to be truly appreciated. Get in your secret place with God, His Word and this album and allow yourself to be taken on a soulful worship journey.
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