Release Date: April 3rd 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- How Great Thou Art
- Great Is They Faithfulness
- Amazing Grace
- It Is Well
- Nothing But The Blood
- I Surrender All
- In The Garden
- There Is A Fountain
- Jesus Paid It All
- In Christ Alone
If you’ve visited this site for any extended period of time, you probably would have read any, or all, of our many Anthem Lights reviews on the site over the past few years. Thus most of you, if not all, would most likely know who Spencer Kane, Joey Stamper, Chad Graham and Caleb Grimm are. And you all would know what they all stand for and how deep their faith is, in terms of each of the four members being on fire for Jesus, and equally passionate about their faith and music also. But if you somehow are not in the loop as to who these young men of God are, then you can read my reviews of Anthem Lights’ projects right here, and my Momentous Mondays blog post about them also– and now you can be caught up and in the know.
Now that you know though, let me tell you about the quartet’s latest project- Hymn-capella– a 10-track album featuring the quartet singing well known and much loved hymns with a twist…without any instruments! Now while the group unveiled Hymns, Hymns Vol. 2 and Christmas Hymns previously, I’ve reviewed the projects here, here and here; it seems that on the surface the guys can’t say any more that hasn’t been said in their previous hymn releases? So is this release worth it to buy, to listen to, if we already have listened to their last hymn albums?
Hymn albums from Anthem Lights have always been a mixed bag. Most of their offerings on each of their albums range between 2 and 2 and a half minutes, and quite a lot of tracks are medleys (and medleys of songs with different tempos!), which are indeed frustrating. Unfortunately, the formula is mostly used for this project. A step up on this project is that there are no medleys, and hence no opportunity to botch up fan favourites…yet aside from personal highlights such as “How Great Thou Art” and “It Is Well” (which are a couple of my favourite hymns anyway!), which are sung in full, every other variation of the 8 hymns are sung in part. From first listen, or even from multiple listens, it seems as if these guys were rushing this release, and in terms of acapella- sure Spencer, Joey, Chad and Caleb all try their hardest, but Pentatonix still are the reigning acapella pop artists currently…by a mile!
With the album instrumentation just these guys singing (and not really any attempt to create ‘instruments’ from their mouths!) Jesus still lives in an breathes into these tracks. And it is in these vibrant and eclectic renditions where we can hear each of the four members showcase their brilliant vocal abilities, either sung as a solo part or together. The result technically is nothing short of extraordinary and remarkable as we hear one of the greatest vocal groups currently. However for some reason this Hymn-capella didn’t connect with me for some reason. With Anthem Lights previously reiterating that they will always keep creating worship music in tandem with pop music and other types of genres inclusive of hymns; sky’s the limit for these guys. So while we wait to see what they’ve got next in store (maybe a full length all-original album next year as a follow up to Painted Skies? Or even a Greatest Showman album?), let us worship God with these heartfelt, poignant and honest worship songs, that celebrate Christianity at its core! And see how Joey, Spencer, Caleb and Chad minister to our souls! If not with this album, then with another Anthem Lights Hymns album. Or their Worship album as well!
3 songs to listen to: How Great Thou Art, It Is Well, In Christ Alone
RIYL: Plus One, Backstreet Boys, Chris Tomlin, Britt Nicole, Natalie Grant