Release Date: February 26th 2016
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Rising Setting
- Fight Your Fear
- Victory Song
‘…I began to realize that God has gifted me with a passion for worship, singing, and creative expression through music, and if my ultimate goal is to bring Him praise and respond in obedience to His calling, what do I have to be afraid of? It’s all His anyway. I just had to begin creating music again. No matter what people think or what becomes of it…’ Worship artist, radio promoter, business woman at a record label, working in a 9-5 job as well as recording music, not to mention songwriting, learning to cook and having a love for interior design. These are some of the many things music recording artist Chandler Roberts has accomplished over the past few years. And with as many hats as hers for anyone who is within the music industry, Chandler could be by far one of the music industry’s most diverse and best kept secrets this side of the millennia. Vocally reminding me of artists like Audrey Assad, JJ Heller and Sara Groves, Chandler’s whimsical, fun-filled, powerful and heartfelt collection of 5 tracks released for her second EP is one such where anyone a fan of acoustic/CCM/folk artists like JJ, Audrey and Sara would adore Chandler’s music very much. While apart from her bio on her website, there is very little to know about her or her music, Chandler’s enthusiasm and passion alone make up for this interesting fact, and I’m sure that as more and more people listen to The Color EP, her popularity amongst the CCM and indie Christian scene would increase. This is a great worship album, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Chandler’s talent is realised and she is signed to a major Christian label in the near future.
While only standing at 5 tracks (personally, from listening to the EP once through, I felt that it was a tad too short…maybe 6-7 tracks?), Chandler’s enthusiasm and unique ability to delve into a myriad of genres within a short amount of tracks is nothing short of marvellous and emotive, with each song digging deep in terms of lyricism and poignancy as Chandler reminds us through these melodies that God is indeed a God who gives us colour and vibrancy, a God who invites us into a life which is rich, full and complete with His mercy and abundant grace flowing through us. “Rising Setting” is a song that I have been drawn to even from first listen, and is probably the most CCM-esque out of all the five tracks. Bringing a vocal similarity to Ginny Owens and Ellie Holcomb (especially in this track), this light and airy acoustically dominated track is one that I’m sure will gain a lot of fans as Chandler I’m sure will use this track to draw in fans who love acoustic pop a la the artists I’ve aforementioned above. A song that encourages us to be mindful and believe that God is sufficient in all circumstances, from the rising of the sun to the setting of it at the end of the day; “Rising Setting” is as catchy as it is musically and lyrically proficient- you couldn’t even tell from hearing the track that the album, let alone the actual song, was written and recorded independently. Chandler Roberts to be signed to a major label this year? Maybe. And from “Rising Setting” alone, The Color EP shoots up to be one of my favourite EP’s of 2016, alongside Rebekah White’s Bold Love and Erik Nieder’s The Narrow Sea!
The rest of the four songs, though not necessarily as wow-ful as “Rising Setting” (for me personally), are nevertheless heartfelt, emotive and confronting as each song delves into a different style as Chandler brings to the table various themes needing to be discussed and dialogued with those around us out of the experience of listening to these tracks. “Color”, the title track, employs light acoustics and a vocal distortion, while relaying to listeners that God is the colour in our lives, making everything brighter, more vibrant, and more and more real as we soak in and allow God’s life to ooze into every part of our lives; while “Lionheart” is very keyboard heavy (the background music could’ve been influenced by Owl City maybe?) as Chandler encourages listeners to embrace our nature of us being lion-hearted, living life with conviction, maybe even going against the grain, as she vocally dons on the ‘Sara Groves meets Joy Lippard’ hat (maybe fans of these artists will appreciate this song?).
“Fight Your Fear” uses the prominence of Chandler’s voice and an acoustic guitar, to provide to us one of the most intimately created songs on the EP, as the message of fighting our fears, often fears created by ourselves, as we realise that our fears are just manifestations of our uncertainty of who we believe God is and who He ought to be (while fears can also be because the devil placed them there as well). “Fight Your Fear” is a call for us to dig deep and really ask the question- what are we afraid of? “Victory” brings to us a familiar (yet I know I’ve never heard it!) song with a heavy anthemic feel as Chandler offers us a theme of us declaring our victories in Christ and Christ alone. “Victory” is in the same feel as “When the Saints” or even some hymn-like songs like “Amazing Grace”- that is what I reckon “Victory” can become in the future. With a catchy and sing-able lyric, Chandler calls us all to ‘…march on, yes we march on, toward the light, that is calling us home, we are pressed and not crushed, and we won’t despair, yes the victory is won…’
‘…I have grown so much in the four years since my first EP, and the depth of God’s character is something that is more clear to me than ever. He IS color… I hope The Color EP draws people closer to God and further away from their own fears. God’s love is too transformative and too vibrant to live in fear…’ Chandler’s first EP in three years is certainly one to take notice of, as this young artist that has drawn parallels (by myself- vocally and lyrically) to other artists like Sara Groves, Ginny Owens and Joy Lippard; comparisons that I reckon will work nicely for Chandler in the upcoming months and years ahead. While not publicised that much in the CCM circle, this EP I’m sure will change much of that, as Chandler’s EP is one of my favourites of 2016 so far. Heartfelt and emotional, comforting and enjoyable; this is a must-have for anyone who loves pop/worship music, and anyone who loves anything different and unique as compared to songs overplayed on the radio recently. Kudos to Chandler on the EP, can’t wait til the next one whenever it releases!
3 songs to listen to: Victory, Rising Setting, Color
RIYL: JJ Heller, Sara Groves, Audrey Assad, Joy Lippard, Ginny Owens, Ellie Holcomb