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Stunning and Soul-stirring
Posted August 13, 2015
By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer

This long awaited solo project Wanderer by Between the Trees' frontman Ryan Kirkland has captivated my spirit. The album includes standout recordings like the sing at the top of your lungs anthems "Thirst" and "Among Lions" alongside the reflective and worshipful vibe of "Take Me Now," "Let Me In," "Somehow He Does," "Never Leave You" and "Abide (Breathe Me In)."

From my first listen, I wanted to tell others about this great new album which immediately reminded me of some of my favorite emotional alternative rock artists like The Fray, Lifehouse and The Rocket Summer.

The project opens with "Awake," which has a worshipful flow building to an exciting refrain that stirs my soul to cry out loudly "Wake up, fully alive, blazing with fire... for the one that you wanted, the love that I needed... wake up, wake up, He's calling."

I'm really engaged by Ryan's emotional vocals and the sincere, enthusiastic and biblical lyrics throughout the album. "Thirst" is layered with an upbeat alt-rock musical style reminiscent of "The Way She Feels." The song will have you singing along in one listen. 

"Take me now, show me more, deeper now, come show me more, Father, deeper now, come show me more" is the refrain of the beautiful and prayerful song "Take Me Now," which is in essence the thesis statement of this stellar, Christ-centered album.

"Let Me In" has a beautiful melody and is sung from God's perspective: "I'll heal your wounds my love, give your darkest sins, O child if you'll just let me in." It is a gorgeous song of comfort. I can't get enough of the stand-out song "Among Lions." Ryan's emotive vocals and the exciting rock musical bed takes me on an emotional journey that causes me to excitedly worship along with the stirring lyrics every time I hear the song.

From the beginning notes of "Somehow He Does," I was hooked by the reflective musical vibe and prayerful message. The song declares bold confessional and faith statements: "I'm unclean, I'm unclean, I'm a liar, I'm a thief, How could He ever love me? Well, I don't know but somehow He does. I'm a drunk, I'm a cheat, how could He ever wash me clean? I don't know, but somehow He does." The song is a gorgeous offering in the style of David's Psalms.

All of these songs are poignant and powerful with earnest worshipful lyrics. "Never Leave You" has a beautiful calling out from God with Ryan displaying The Fray's Isaac Slade's style of emotive vocals with the comforting refrain, "Call on Me if you're upset... I'll never leave you." It is another prayerful expression of God's faithfulness and includes another catchy guitar riff. 

During the incredible song "Abide (Breathe Me In)," you'll sing along with Ryan at the top of your lungs "Take my heart and make it Yours, let my eyes see all You are, I want to dance with You, God."

Catchy Brit-rock style guitar and piano riffs are found throughout this substantive album, especially in the rock-tinged "Thirst," "Among Lions" and "Abide (Breathe Me In)," which will all remind you of vintage Between the Trees songs like "White Lines & Red Lights," "Words," "We Can Try" and "Spain," with very prayerful lyrics.

Closing Thoughts:
This is a great collection of confessional and authentic expressions of faith. The songs are poignant and powerful. There are no filler tracks, and this is easily one of my top "gourmet" albums of the year. If you want to experience an uplifting, soul-stirring, stunning and worshipful album, look no further than Ryan Kirkland. My favorite songs are "Thirst," "Let Me In," "Among Lions," "Somehow He Does," "Never Leave You" and "Abide (Breathe Me In)," which has quickly become one of my favorite worship songs. 

If you like the alternative rock artists The Fray, Lifehouse, The Rocket Summer and Between the Trees, you need to check out Wanderer by Ryan Kirkland. These songs will certainly connect with listeners as they showcase the multi-talented singer/songwriter's trademark balance of vocal tenderness and intensity, his energetic piano playing and, above all, a sense of hope and inspiration. This album is all about finding our true identity in Christ. He is the answer. This is an incredibly deep, worshipful and emotional Christian alternative rock album. Wanderer is one of my top albums of the year.

Song to Download Now: 
"Abide (Breathe Me In)" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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