Posted June 23, 2016
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer
There was a time when Leeland was widely hailed as the next big thing. They were one of my favorite bands, and it seemed like they were at the dawn of a long and successful stay in CCM. But as excitement for subsequent albums tapered off and the band went years without a new full-length album, it seemed like they might've missed their window. Until now. 5 years since their last album, Leeland is back and partnered with Bethel Music for Invisible.
Bookended with "Bells of Notre Dame" intros and outros that set the worshipful tone, Invisible does what Leeland has always done best: take a popular sound and lift it to a higher artistic plain. Since their last album, dance/electronic music has seen increasing mainstream play, so it's fitting that many of these songs carry considerably more electronic influence than anything they've done before.
Luckily, that element doesn't overwhelm the songs, and the worshipful and theologically rich lyrics that made Leeland famous are still front and center. With his Phil Keaggy-esque voice, Leeland Mooring is one of the industry's strongest vocalists, and all of these songs become treats to listen to even with the lyrical territory feeling fairly familiar.
The title track is almost whimsical in its delivery as it talks about seeing God in our lives. The Easter-themed "Son Was Lifted Up" is another highlight. Here, Leeland sings of how in the midst of the painful events of the passion, we see love. "The War" has a chorus that feels the most "at home" for Leeland, despite the electronic influences. Based on the 23rd Psalm, Leeland sings of Christ's ultimate victory. The song has become a personal favorite of mine.
"Lion and the Lamb," "King of My Heart" and "Perfect Love" are other highlights. Nothing here quite reaches the heights of Sound of Melodies, and a few of the cuts fail to be as memorable as others. But that doesn't diminish the album's quality. Leeland has crafted a worship album that should remind artists and listeners alike of what worship music can and should be. Here's hoping it's the start of a triumphant resurgence for the band and not just a joyous epilogue.
The Bottom Line: CCM's favorite redhead is back, doing what he does best: praising our Savior with the mature, artful music of a seasoned veteran.
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