Provident Label Group
Release Date: February 26th 2023
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
CAIN– Honest Off15ering (Live) (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- Praise Opens Prison Doors
- Honest Offering / I Surrender All
- Friend In Jesus
- Blessed Assurance (feat David Leonard)
- Shine On Us (feat. Mitch Wong)
- Awe Of You
In the history of CCM music (or actually in the history of music generally!); new bands have formed, and older bands have disbanded. Or maybe the same new bands who recently formed have disbanded as quickly as they have former, while veterans plough on and on and on… but actually in the history of music that’s the case also. It’s just that some bands are fortunate to last a long time- 10 years or 20 years or longer, while others fold within the first couple of albums. For one reason or another, whether it is through the support of family and friends, or maybe just that the general public supports one particular band over another; it’s just the way it is as to why some bands succeed while others fail. And as we have more and more bands introduce themselves onto the music stage year after year after year; how can we ever keep up with the inflow of many groups with potential greatness? Is there a band saturation? Because if there is, then what hope do up and coming band CAIN have in breaking into the Christian market?
A few of years ago, CCM/pop sibling trio CAIN burst onto the scene- comprising of Taylor Cain Matz, Madison Cain Johnson and Logan Cain- and dropped their self-titled EP CAIN. Standing at 6 songs long, and with the release having dropped via Provident Label Group; one might wonder… are CAIN are a band that are here to stay for a long time, or will they be a one hit wonder? So many bands have fallen down and given up at the release of their 2nd album, their sophomore album (which is why it’s called the sophomore slump- so many bands fall down at that particular hurdle!); so, is there a chance that CAIN is like that? Well, we reviewed their EP a few years ago, and thus judging from the calibre of their debut EP, and if the quality is sustained for years to come… well CAIN won’t be disbanding for any time soon! CAIN has since unveiled their debut full length album Rise Up in 2021; and the album was one of my favourite albums of the year, in terms of enthusiasm and accessibility and lyrical poignancy. CAIN is definitely for fans of artists like I Am They and Rend Collective, or any worship band who’s fed up with the same old releases from Hillsong and Planetshakers! CAIN also dropped their Christmas release Wonderful in 2021 also– a 6 song EP full of carols and original songs; and so let us be amazed at their lyrical poignancy and intense passion for Jesus. But as we are near the front of 2023… how about a new release from the sibling pop/CCM trio? No, it’s not a 2nd full length album. Perhaps that is coming later on in the year. Rather, it’s another EP. Honest Offering is a live project and a worship release that is as passionate as it is enthusiastic- and as the siblings powerfully worship God and give Him the glory, we are met with a vibrant, reinvigorating, reflective and compelling release that deserves multiple listens as we worship God at church or even at home.
We’d pack so many in our family room and just sing to Jesus. Our hearts need this. It’s something that has been on our hearts to do, and I can’t believe we actually got to do it! Everybody’s heart for this is just right. We’re ready! This feels different to me than anything we’ve done before. It’s so personal. We hope that this is a time that people can get lost in the songs and really connect with God. That is more than we can hope for, more than people just liking the songs or enjoying themselves. We really hope that people get to encounter the living God.
What makes a great worship album or EP? An equal combination of energetic praise songs and heartfelt, vulnerable, and honest ballads? A great beat or an inspiring message? Or maybe the release just simply has to have the ‘it’ factor, which no one can really describe nor quantify? For CAIN and their EP, well I’d say that God has anointed their EP and has placed His hand upon it. And one listen to their powerful, authentic, and inspiring songs, and you’d agree with me too. Opening with “Praise Opens Prison Doors”, the trio emphatically and majestically relay to us all that singing worship anthems to God can actually have a great impact in this world, that ‘…if praise opens prison doors, we’ll sing from sunset to sunrise, and if worship makes these walls come down, we’ll sing from morning to midnight…’. Co-written with Chris Tomlin and Jason Ingram, CAIN have delivered a high-quality opener, and a song fit for Sunday morning services, as we lift Jesus’ name high and declare that He is worthy of our praise. Following on from the resounding and engaging album opener, is the contemplative and reverent ballad which is the title track- meshed together with the hymn of “I Surrender All”. A personal album highlight, the trio emphatically proclaim that Jesus Christ can have our entire lives and our praise and our honest offering, and that He is Lord over our lives; while lead single “Friend In Jesus”, the lyrical heartbeat of the album, speaks about how we can be friends with Jesus, because of the fact that ‘…I have a Shepherd who always keeps me safe, and I found a healer who knows my every pain, but this is my story of redeeming love, I have come to know Him well…’.
“Blessed Assurance”, the trio’s updated modern day fresh spin on the timeless hymn, features former All Sons And Daughters co-lead singer David Leonard, and features a vibrant and eclectic gospel choir- enough for me to assuredly declare that this song is by far my favourite from this already musically and lyrically strong EP. Unfortunately, “Shine”, sung with Mitch Wong, is a track that somewhat pales in comparison compared to the rest of the album, and sounds like a standard worship track that Planetshakers or Hillsong Worship would record. Rounding out the diverse EP, is the resounding and powerful 7-minute ballad “Awe Of You”, a melody by which the trio passionately cry out that they are so in awe of Jesus and that ‘…if what I’ve heard is true of You, then how could I stand in Your presence, if what I’ve heard is true of You, then I’ll stay in this moment forever…if what I’ve heard is true of You, then there’s not enough words to describe You, if what I’ve heard is true of You, my Jesus, there’s nobody like You…’.
I’ve said this before, and I will say it again. Sky is still the limit for the three siblings in CAIN– a band that is CCM, yet also a breath of fresh air musically. While the band couldn’t tour the last few years to the fullest extent due to the global situation of COVID-19; what we all can still do even if we can’t see them live, is to listen to this worship album pronto, as well as their debut full length project! Part country, part worship, part fun-filled pop and fully inspirational; it is my hope and prayer than CAIN are around for a long time. One listen to Rise Up and one listen to Wonderful and one listen to Honest Offering and you’d agree with me! So, what are you waiting for guys? Take a chance on Madison, Logan, and Taylor. I promise you- you won’t be disappointed! Fans of Rend Collective, I Am They and Tenth Avenue North will love CAIN!
3 songs to listen to: Praise Opens Prison Doors, Blessed Assurance, Awe Of You
RIYL: Rend Collective, I Am They, Tenth Avenue North, Jason Castro, Chris Sligh, Colton Dixon