Release Date: August 28th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- I Need A Ghost
- Just Like Heaven
- House Of Miracles
- Running To The Light
- Graves Into Gardens
- RATTLE! (feat. Tasha Cobbs Leonard)
- Wild For Me
- Son Of Heaven
- Lost In Your Love (feat. Sarah Reeves)
Bethel Music, as a label and as a church, has housed many successful and poignant solo worship artists over the years- both current and former. Brian & Jenn Johnson, Corey Asbury, Amanda Cook, Jonathan & Melissa Helser, Steffany Gretzinger, Kristine DiMarco, Dante Bowe, Emmy Rose, Rebecca St. James, Paul & Hannah McClure, Bethany Wohrle, Kalley Heiligenthal, Josh Baldwin and Jeremy Riddle are the artists that immediately come to my mind, and are probably the most popular and well respected. Yet probably the most vibrant and energetic of Bethel’s newest ‘recruits’ would be Brandon Lake. Though not really a household name yet, I believe that Brandon’s debut album House Of Miracles is one of the most vulnerable, honest, emotional and inspiring worship albums all year, and it’s one that in my opinion you need to listen to pronto!
Opening the track list is the lead single “I Need A Ghost”. Led by the stirring electric guitar, the rocker jumps out of the gates quite quickly, as we are met with a pulsating, intense and heartfelt melody that I could envision Crowder recording. As Brandon eloquently declares that ‘…I need a Holy Ghost, awaken in my soul, I need a love that glows, rattling my bones ’til the evidence shows, I need a Holy Ghost, awaken in my soul, I need a heart on fire that’ll never grow tired wherever I go…’, we are presented with a prayer to God and an intense longing for the Holy Spirit to come and fill our hearts and come and make us more on fire for Jesus. Setting the tempo and the pace for the rest of the album, “I Need A Ghost” is one of my favourite album openers I’ve heard in a long time, and a song that I’m sure will immediately grab your attention too.
The rest of the album unveils Brandon Lake the rocker as well as Brandon Lake the intense yet hopeful worshipper, as we are delivered exquisite track after exquisite track. “Just Like Heaven” is an electronic soft piano ballad that basically is a worship song asking God to remain in our presence and to bring Heaven down to us to experience just a taste of what it will be like; while the title track is a reflective and contemplate slower-paced melody highlighting that with Jesus in our lives, everything in this whole world is a house of miracles for God to use and show His might and power. The keys and synth poppy and radio friendly track “Running To The Light”, co-written with Dante Bowe and Hillsong’s Benjamin Hastings, is next- with Brandon passionately praising God and declaring that he is running to the light (aka Jesus) because of everything He’s done for us, while the pop-rocker “Temple”, standing at only 3 and a half minutes long, is simply a ball of fun and energy, as Brandon relays that ‘…I am a temple of Your Spirit, a born again believer, by the grace of Jesus, and I am an ambassador of Heaven, a lover of Your presence, prophesying freedom, and it’s all for Your glory…’.
“Wildflowers” ends the first half of the album, and unfortunately it ends this half in a whimper. The Pat Barrett-cowritten melody musically never gets off the ground, as the light acoustic/keys track sings about the abundance and the powerful nature of God’s love; while “Gratitude”, with a similar musical structure, is unexpectedly an album highlight, as we hear Brandon’s earnest emotion and raw honesty here, in pure unbridled praise and worship to God, on a song that would fit right at home on a Singalong album from Phil Wickham. “Wild For Me” musically is where Brandon moves into the EDM/remix-type territory, as Brandon vocally sounds like David Dunn and Bear Rinehart from NEEDTOBREATHE here, as Brandon fervently relays to us the intensity and the seemingly recklessness of God’s love for each of us. I’d say that this song is the companion piece to “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury… but I’d say you be the judge.
“Son Of Heaven”, one of the catchiest worship albums of the year thus far, is co-written with Matt Maher, and could easily fit on the Passion album next year or the year after- it’s a potential hymn that I reckon will be BIG in churches everywhere in the coming weeks and months. After all, the lyrics are solid, biblical and theological sound, similar in theme to “In Christ Alone”! What more could you want? Oh, and is that Matt Maher singing the chorus as backing vocals in an uncredited cameo? It could be right? Well that’d be very, very awesome! While the album ender is “Lost In Your Love” with Sarah Reeves on guest vocals- a soft piano ballad that at times is acapella… and is a beautiful, vulnerable and heartwarming way to end a stellar album, which is a track about desperation for our Father’s presence and our intense love for Him, and our willingness to step out in faith into His love even if it is unknown and even if it scares us deeply.
Yet it is “Graves Into Gardens” and “RATTLE” which grab my attention from the get go and are a couple of my favourite worship tracks over the past few years, period! Co-written with plenty of Elevation Worship members, I first heard “Graves Into Gardens” when I heard the song from Elevation Worship- and the brilliantly sung version with Brandon Lake. Here, Brandon sings the song by himself, with the compelling and powerful guitar led worshipful melody eloquently relaying to us the undeniable true fact that ‘…You turn graves into gardens, You turn bones into armies, You turn seas into highways, You’re the only one who can…’ on the chilling backdrop of a vibrant choir resembling something of a gospel track. “RATTLE”, with Tasha Cobbs Leonard, is the last recognisable song, and is out of this world! And I mean that seriously in a crazy good way! Explosive and rousing in its delivery, “Rattle” would’ve been a perfect opener- and could’ve set the tone for the entire album, as this ball of energetic joy fervently relays to us that the source of all of our praise and happiness comes from God, and Jesus. As it stands here in the middle, this ‘rocker’, with gospel legend Tasha on guest vocals, is beautifully placed also, as it serves as a literal wake up call and a track to jam to if we’re too sleepy from the previous contemplative ballads. And as we hear the sounds of bones rattling and dead men coming alive, surely we can sing to God and praise Him with a passion and enthusiasm never heard before, right?
Not much is known about Brandon outside of his near-flawless and stellar debut album. Yet an in depth history of Brandon and how he acquired his start in music…is actually not really needed for you all to enjoy House Of Miracles. With the track list being just under an hour, one might think that that album drags- but in no way was I bored or disinterested. My attention was held all the way, and as we wait and are still in quarantine, let is reflect upon the year and upon the future, and let us listen to Brandon Lake’s House Of Miracles while we do ponder life’s big questions. And even though House Of Miracles may or may not be the project that kickstarts Brandon’s career; at least this batch of songs are at least circulating the globe, and people can hear the wonder of songs like “Graves Into Gardens”, “Rattle”, “Son Of Heaven” and the title track to name a few. What is next for Brandon, you say? Maybe more songwriting for other artists or perhaps working on his second album, while preparing for a tour that will possibly happen next year. But until that time, we can press repeat on House Of Miracles several times. I guarantee you, it will be worth the effort of listening through the entire 58 minute duration!
4 songs to listen to: I Need A Ghost, Graves Into Gardens, Rattle, Son Of Heaven
RIYL: Mack Brock, London Gatch, All Sons And Daughters, Crowder, Delirious?