Release Date: July 18th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- I Believe
- Hold Me
- Home (feat. Jimmy Needham)
- Make Me New
- For the Broken
- Here on Earth
- I Surrender All (feat. Jonny Diaz)
One of the most enjoyable worship records I have heard throughout the whole of 2014 (I know I have said that about a lot of EP’s and albums, but this time, I’m really meaning it); indie worship band Cadence have released their 8 song album titled Home on July 18th. While I wasn’t that familiar with the band in general, I stumbled upon their artist page on the Greg Oliver Agency page while I was listening to Sarah Reeves’s new song ‘You are My Salvation’. Listening to some of their songs from their 2012 EP Awake afterwards, Cadence have become one of the most unique, inspired, powerful and emotive worship artists since artists like Rend Collective, All Sons and Daughters and Bellarive. While their craft and worship melodies are still relatively new to listeners of mainstream CCM/pop (like myself), what the band has uniquely done was to craft a set of tracks in such a way that their sound harkens back to some of these artists aforementioned, while also still having their own identity forged in their heart for worship and their familial bond- the lead singer Donny Karpinen’s wife Brittany sings alongside him, with his sister Carrie (drums), and Brittany’s brothers Jeffrey (bass) and Andrew (electric guitar) making up the 5 piece band.
With the album even featuring a couple of duets with more established artists like Jimmy Needham and Jonny Diaz (to draw in some folk who listen to much more of their established artist brand); Home is a gem and wonder, and a beautifully written and recorded set of songs- to the point where you don’t realise the band recorded them independently. From the soulful title track, to the acoustically driven and upbeat “I Surrender All”; Home is one of my favourite albums of July 2014, and an album to place Cadence on the map as their songs continue their way into the hearts, churches and homes of individuals around the world.
It is the last song on the album, “I Surrender All”, a duet with Jonny Diaz; that captured me the most when I heard the album from first note to last guitar strum. While a hymn, it is the musical arrangement and the layered instruments and enthusiastic vocals that create an emotive and energetic aura that places the track as one of my favourites, even though it was written long ago. A song that encourages us to surrender everything we have before God, Jonny’s ethereal vocals compliment Donny’s lead (his vocals remind me of a cross between Leeland and Sean Curran from Bellarive) quite nicely, as big drums, powerful acoustic drums, and layered vocals invite us to hear one of the most unique renditions of this wonderful hymn. The added tag at the end that relays the fact that ‘…Jesus the truth, You are, Jesus the way, my God, I trust You with all my heart, I surrender all…’ is a nice touch, yet it nevertheless felt that the song was gearing up for track 9 (to be revolved around that theme), yet it abruptly finished. Despite this, “I Surrender All” is still one of my favourite songs on Home!
With a light acoustic guitar and electronic keyboards bringing “I Believe” to life, Cadence evoke a theme of belief in hard times through this first track, as we see what would happen- will we still sing out ‘…I still believe your promises are true, even when the ground beneath me moves, I will sing of all you’ve done for me, cause Lord I still believe…’ when everything is taken away from us a la Job? With a fresh organic-like sound that threads through much of the album, Cadence has something great to offer, and it doesn’t stop at “I Believe”. “Hold Me” invests in hand claps, light acoustic guitar strums, and a steady beat that encourages us to declare alongside Cadence to the Lord to ‘…hold me and don’t let me go, the closer I get to Your heart, I’m home…’; while the title track slows things down and provides us with one of the most vulnerable duets I’ve heard since Harper Still’s “Here’s My Heart”.
With Jimmy Needham, the band reveal a theme of coming home to Christ, with the lack of EDM in the track being in fact a great thing as we mediate in the words of how Christ longs us to ‘…come to me, I’m all that you need, come to me, I am everything that you want, you can never be alone cause I will be your home…’ The CCM-esque “Make Me New” trades the electronics for light undertones of acoustics and drum beats as the band use their vocals to portray a sense of longing for God to make them new, while both “For the Broken” and “Drifting” are written and sung to particular audiences- believers as we share and love the broken around us, and those who may be floundering or struggling, respectively.
With both songs inviting us to revel in the upbeat piano and electric guitar rhythms; it is the 3 minute “Here on Earth” that is again one of my favourites on this 8 track musical offering. With the chorus almost mirroring the Lord’s Prayer, the band cry out to God to ‘…let Your kingdom come, God of the universe, let Your will be done, here on Earth…’; the band continue to press on the line of intriguing, heartfelt and traditional as the band use their techniques to transform older songs into newer ones with added stanzas and fresh instrumentation (with “Here on Earth” no exception). A song that’ll hopefully be in worship sets on Sunday mornings in the future, Cadence continues to assert themselves as a band that utilises both their music and vocals in a way that shows them as captivating, while also poignantly rich in lyrics and musical complexities.
With Cadence releasing their second album offering, it is their 2014 album rather than their 2012 one that’ll hopefully garner a wider range of fans and the hopeful glance of either labels or other mentors/people knowledgeable in the music industry. One of the most enjoyable albums released in July 2014 (alongside Moriah Peters’s Brave, Bellarive’s Before There Was and About a Mile’s debut album), Cadence are yet another indie band in 2014 to look out for. From “I Surrender All” to “Here on Earth” and the title track, each song weaves together quite nicely into the next, and shows us how great an indie artist can be, even without label backing!
3 songs to listen to: Here On Earth, I Surrender All, I Believe
RIYL: Rend Collective, Bellarive, Leeland, Aaron Gillespie