Release Date: December 18th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Come Like You Promise (Remastered)
- The Rain (Remastered)
- Wilderness (Remastered)
- Have You Heard (Remastered)
- Rest (Remastered)
- Absolute (Remastered)
- The Rain – 
- Rest – 
- Come Like You Promise (Live)
“…I thought it would be good to celebrate the journey and the 20th year anniversary with a new remixed and re-mastered version of Have You Heard. It’s been a lot of fun rediscovering these songs and remembering all that’s happened since we first recorded them. I wonder what the next 20 years will hold!…” Out of every single band I have listened to, and loved their music, British rockers Delirious?, who disbanded in 2010, will always have a special and sentimental place in my heart. Numerous times in my teenage years, I was comforted and my faith strengthened many times as Martin Smith belted out timeless songs such as “History Maker”, “I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever”, “My Glorious” and “Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble”. The band have stood the testament of time in my opinion, as they are still my favourite band long after the quintet split ways way back in 2009 (2010 if you count their final farewell show DVD and CD that released that year!). Even though I still hold out hope for a reunion of sorts (which is looking less likely as lead singer Martin Smith has formed his new band Army Of Bones), I can still rest easy in the fact that Stu G is still keeping the Delirious? dream alive, with a recent release of his ‘brand new’ digitally remastered 20 year old EP Have You Heard– Stu G’s first solo project. A collection of 6 melodies recorded in the 90’s while Delirious? was still known as The Cutting Edge Band, as well as some 2015 versions of a few songs, and a live recording, this EP is one to savour, as we marvel at how far Stu G has grown as a singer and also as a worship leader. Distributed by The Fuel Music, there’s definitely an air of anticipation and eagerness as I listen to the album, so you all should take a squiz and be blessed! Stu G may not be the strongest of singers, but his enthusiasm, passion and heart for Jesus shouldn’t be discounted, as we are given long lost melodies fit for church and personal worship.
Immediate off the bat, the most recognisable track “Come Like You Promise” opens proceedings, with pulsating electric guitar, vocal distortion through electronics, as well as inspiring lyrics that ‘…this is the sound of my heart’s desire, this is the song that my spirit sings, this is the sound of the coming rain…’. We are reminded by Stu G that God’s presence is everywhere, in all creation, that God is with us all the time as promised, therefore we can rest in the knowledge that we are never alone. A stirring electric guitar solo brings this song back to the good old Delirious? days with heartfelt nostalgia, while the album closer of the same track sung in a live setting (obviously recorded in recent times!) brings a new spin and a depth to the meaning of the track, as we marvel in awe and wonder of the heart and passion for Jesus of Stu G, and sing along in worshipping God as well.
While I am unfamiliar in quite a lot of Stu G’s solo material, what I have heard on this EP is quite magical and breathtaking, as Stu G gives them quite an updated and refreshing take in his versions. Soft mid-tempo ballad “The Rain”, led by stirring electric guitar, compares God’s love and presence to rain, with the notion that it is all around us, permeating us from the inside out as we come to grips with His unending love for us, while this emphatic and inspiring melody is updated with an electronic effects laden 2015 version, which at times could sound off-putting, but after many listens, comes into its own, and for that fact, Stu G should be congratulated. Singing from God’s perspective, Stu G delivers probably the pinnacle of this unique project, with “Rest”, a simple yet effective melody where we are reminded that in Jesus we can rest, that all the time, God is calling us, crying out ‘…come to Me all of you who are weary and heavy laden, I will give you rest for your souls, take My yolk upon yourselves and learn from me for I am gentle and humble…’. Once again Stu G updates this melody, and gives it an electronic remix, which works better than “The Rain” for some reason, having me agreeing with everything Stu G has iterated, that God and only God is the giver of rest, and the only One we can lean on for everything we need.
The rest of the album (the remainder 3 songs) are not updated or rerecorded (just remastered only!), but are nevertheless compelling and moving. The acoustic guitar driven “Wilderness” stands tall at 7 minutes, and while not building up to a grand musical crescendo, is an honest, earnest prayer asking God to reveal more of Himself to us as we are walking through our own personal wildernesses; and in contrast, the 3-minute acoustic guitar driven pop tune “Absolute”, similar musically to Delirious? hits’ “The Happy Song” and “Gravity”, isn’t that sombre at all, as Stu G authoritatively proclaims that God absolutely keeps His promises in relation to the fact of us being in heaven someday, as the lyrics in essence is a prayer where we long for the day where we can see Jesus again. With the title track, the country twanged, banjo infused bluegrass and southern gospel melody being a loud, joyous, raucous and celebratory party, outlining that because we have heard the good news of Jesus, we can cheerfully spread the good news to everyone we meet; St G has recorded, remixed and re-altered a stellar Ep that reminds us that the best days of Stu G are yet to come, either as a solo artist or as part of a band (maybe joining Martin Smith on Army Of Bones?)…
As Stu G encourages us to embark on the path that God has given us, no matter if our sphere of influence is globally or just in our suburb or street, as well as to share the gospel with everyone we meet (or at least try to!); we are met with 6 honest and personal tracks. One of my favourite worship EP’s I’ve heard for a while; Stu G’s effort his very profound, and his prowess respected. He certainly has a lot more music in him left, and no doubt many critics and listeners will love this album. For fans of British music like Delirious?, Martin Smith, Tim Hughes or Matt Redman, we are met with countless highlights and no filler tracks! Well done Stu G for an exemplary effort and I hope you win heaps of awards and be recognised for the songwriter that you are in the future!
3 songs to listen to: Come Like You Promise, Have You Heard, Rest
RIYL: Matt Redman, Crowder, Delirious?, Martin Smith, Paul Baloche