Release Date: June 3rd 2014
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Take Me Over (3:54)
- Nailed To The Cross (3:47)
- Held In Your Hands (3:26)
- Power In The Blood (3:08)
- Your Will Be Done (4:06)
- Lay Me Down (5:15)
- My Heart Cries Out (3:52)
- In All Things (4:01)
- Lord Have Mercy (3:51)
- God Of My Salvation (3:55)
- Undo (3:46)
Comprised of lead singer Wes Willis, guitarists Kevin Huguley and Patrick Sweeney, bassist Jacob Chesnut, and drummer Jamie Sharpe; CCM/pop-rock quintet Rush Of Fools, with plenty of Dove Awards won for their 2007 self-titled debut album; have wowed and amazed us time and time again with their hit singles and fan favourites such as “Undo”, “Can’t Get Away”, “When Our Hearts Sing”, “Wonder Of The World”, “Never Far Away”, “Come Find Me” and “Grace Found Me”. Having signed to Midas Records for their first two records, a move to eOne Records correlated with a departure from their contemporary safe soft genres, and a dabble a bit in rock music, which for me didn’t personally resonate with me as much as the previous two albums. Yet the newest album Carry Us Now, has the band back to the music that they’re the experts on- worship and pop rock with an asy and accessible beat and rhythm. With Rush of Fools signed to Provident Label Group (Essential Records), the new album that releases tomorrow, in my opinion, is like a new chapter, a new beginning for the band, as they walk into the way that God has prepared for them. One of the most pleasantly surprising albums of 2014; this album is sure to grab the attention of many fans and casual listeners, as we are reminded that everything is held in the hands of Jesus, and that ‘…all we know to pray and all we’ve yet to face, is held in Your hands…’ (“Held In Your Hands”).
“Held In your Hands”, the album’s first single, is a stark contrast musically from any track on We Once Were. Gone are the grunging and explosive electric guitars and present instead are the gentle piano riffs, the distinct honest and earnest voice of Wes, and the moving poignant slow tempo and magical rhythm of the song. Thematically about laying down trust, surrender and dependence to our Almighty and the Saviour; Wes emphatically and passionately cries out and sings with utter conviction and faith eternal truths about God, that ‘…all our yesterdays and all of our tomorrows [are] held in Your hands…’. Such a wonderful security and confidence in Jesus once we let these words sink in; Rush of Fools have recorded a perfect and emotional first single, that ought to shake our faith and make it more secure when we know that Jesus’ love exceeds our greatest expectations, and that we are secure in Him.
The rest of the tracks are equally as brilliant as the lead single. The acoustic guitar led country themed pop tune “Nailed To The Cross” is where Wes proclaims in awestruck wonder, thankfulness and gratitude that we are washed white as snow, our sins not mattering to God (past, present and future), as we are spotless, blameless and flawless in His sight. Reminding me of MercyMe’s “Flawless” lyrically and thematically, the powerful and comforting words in the chorus sung brilliantly by Wes once again touches my heart and has me singing along with gusto. As Wes sings out ‘…my debt, it is nailed to the cross, it is all gone, my life has been bought…it is paid at the cross…it is nailed to the cross…’, I am convinced that many people will come to Christ by this God breathed and Holy Spirit anointed track, it’s so special and different than anything Rush of Fools has recorded! Though the band slightly expand their genre in this album, though not to the extent as the 2011 rock offering, the subject matter is much more mature than before, delving into many relevant and relatable topics.
The upbeat Rend Collective like jumping-for-joy celebratory melody “In All Things”, driven by vibrant acoustic guitars, declares that God is good, no matter the circumstances, in good and bad times, and ‘…in all things, You are good…You are true, Jesus who can compare to you?…’. Whereas the personal piano lead ballad “My Heart Cries Out”, a reflective tune and prayer, has the band fervently asking God to reignite the spark between us and Him. As Wes takes on the persona of someone who’s relationship has gone ‘off track’ with God, and is now asking God for a deeper connection; Rush of Fools are indeed definitely not afraid to push musical and lyrical boundaries, and show us that the simplest of songs are sometimes the most profound.
“Lord Have Mercy” (not to be confused with Michael W Smith’s 2002 live worship track) takes the album to a vulnerable level that is all the more real, with the band ardently crying out to God, asking Him to ‘…Lord have mercy, open my eyes to see You are still in control, You reign above it all…’, across an exquisite blend of guitars, piano and brilliant vocals, One of the band’s most enjoyable songs, this contemplative track highlights that God is still sovereign and faithful even if we’re in a dire situation and in the pit of despair. We are also introduced to a couple of bouncy and cheerful tracks “Power In The Blood”, driven by acoustic guitar and hand claps, and bringing a smile to my face, and the electronic and synth led opener “Take Me Over”.
“Take Me Over”, lyrically the most inventive and creative, and the most fitting track as the album opener, makes use of a lot of water and desert imagery, as Wes sings out that ‘…there’s peace, peace like a river, there’s joy, joy like a fountain, there’s love, love like an ocean, take me over…’. Asking God to rain down and show up in our lives, changing it for the better and drawing people closer to Him; the energetic and upbeat dance track also has me jumping and singing for joy as this song could be something Chris Tomlin could sing. The musically creative and country themed “Power In The Blood”, with the acoustic guitar (and is it the banjo or mandolin as well) the centrepiece of the track musically, reminds us how much the cross of Jesus and His sacrifice means to us and us living life to the fullest with the knowledge that we are secure in Him. But it is the cover of Chris Tomlin’s “Lay Me Down”, though almost a carbon copy of the studio version on Chris’s album, down to the notes, arrangements and sometimes the vocal delivery; which showcases Wes and his friend’s unbridled and unashamed passion and heart for Jesus in worship to our Father and Saviour. I can’t help but worship along with Wes and his friends as they sing out ‘…it will be my joy to say, Your will, Your way, always…’!
“Your Will Be Done” and “God Of My Salvation” are the remaining offerings of the band, and round up the moving and personal album with slow tempoed ballads led by the piano. “Your Will Be Done” is an ardent and desperate prayer sung by Wes, where he exclaims that ‘…my heart is screaming out Your will be done, Your kingdom come, my hope is in You, Lord don’t delay, come have Your way…’. It’s a prayer and song to sing in the midst of our trials, and in every season we have to cling onto the promises of God despite our circumstances, resting in the reality that He holds everything together in the palm of His hands. “God Of My Salvation”, an acoustic guitar led melody, encourages and builds us up, and prophetically declaring that God’s ways are higher and more perfect than our own, despite our insistence sometimes that we are right all of the time. The album then closes with an acoustic rendition of Rush Of Fools’ first single from their 2007 album “Undo”!
Arguably their most successful and popular hit song throughout their illustrious career, the notion that God is the only one that can undo who we have become, and can remake us into someone brand new and spotless, expertly shown through the passionate lyrics of ‘…turn me around, pick me up, undo what I’ve become, bring me back to the place of forgiveness and grace…’ is all the more significant and relevant now as it was 7 years ago when the song was recorded. In fact, this is a timeless concept, that God can mould us and shape us into being more and more like Him. He will gladly help us whether we’ve stumbled into the pit deliberately or accidently and that’s the beauty of grace which Rush OF Fools have captured so well in this song, and the entire album in general.
With Wes, Kevin, Patrick, Jacob and Jamie collectively showing us anthems, ballads, and personal tracks about God’s unending love and forgiveness for us that stretches beyond the deepest ocean and the highest mountain; I am presented with an album that will change many lives. Despite the album labelled by some as inferior and being lyrical and musical simplicity in compared to the seemingly lyrically profound and guitar focused rock infused album We Once Were; I believe that Carry Us Now is not the band taking a creative step backwards. Personally I am one of the few who prefer Rush Of Fools singing worship over rock. However, regardless of your musical tastes, Carry Us Now is sure to please, and no doubt at least one song will minister to you. Well done guys for creating an album I have thoroughly enjoyed, and plan to be listening to for a while yet!
3 songs to listen to: Nailed To The Cross, Power In The Blood, God Of My Salvation
RIYL: Sidewalk Prophets, Mikeschair, The Museum, Brandon Heath