Provident Label Group
Release Date: October 29th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
CAIN– Wonderful (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- (Christmas) Baby Please Come Home
- Celebrate Me Home
- Wonderful (feat. Steven Curtis Chapman)
- Grown-up Christmas List
- Christmas Is Coming (feat. Mac Powell)
- O Come All Ye Faithful
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 within a year or two, 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 couple 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 couple of 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 last year; 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! And now, as CAIN readies their Christmas release Wonderful– a 6 song EP full of carols and original songs; let us be amazed at their lyrical poignancy and intense passion for Jesus.
What makes a great Christmas album or EP? An equal combination of holiday songs, original songs and worshipful carols? A great beat or an inspiring message? or simply just 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. “(Christmas) Baby Please Come Home” is the EP opener, and features all three vocalists singing in perfect harmony, presenting to us one of the most enthusiastic covers of this holiday classic. “Celebrate Me Home”, originally by Kenny Loggins of Footloose fame, is one of the most iconic Christmas songs of all time, and as Taylor, Madison and Logan passionately cry out that they want their loved ones to ‘…celebrate me home, give me a number, please, celebrate me home, play me one more song that I’ll always remember…’, we are met with a song that speaks about the importance of family and spending time with loved ones during the holidays. “Wonderful”, an original melody, features guest vocals from Steven Curtis Chapman, and is one of my most favourite original Christmas songs since SCC’s “Christmas Card”; and as the trio and Steven passionately and earnestly worship God for who He is and declare that ‘…I need a Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, who’s strong enough to carry me, Emmanuel, God with us, the One who’s love will never end, oh Jesus can you make this season wonderful?…’, we are eloquently presented with a worship anthem that should be sung in churches on Sunday mornings this festive season and in the Christmases to come.
“Grown-Up Christmas List”, originally recorded by Amy Grant but made popular by Kelly Clarkson, has become one of the most iconic and legendary songs associated with Christmas (in a good way!), and as CAIN beautifully and exquisitely deliver this cover and make it their own, we can appreciate Amy the songwriter, but also Kelly the artist for making this track famous and popular. We can also thank CAIN for delivering to us a stirring and near-flawless cover. “Christmas Is Coming”, with Mac Powell, is another original song, a southern gospel style worship melody that uniquely blends Mac’s voice with the three siblings, and is a simple yet effective song about praising Jesus because ‘…Christmas is coming, the waiting is over, our God is with us, Joy to the world, for our saviour is born, oh tell everybody, Christmas is coming…’. Wonderful then ends with the piano ballad “O Come All Ye Faithful”. It’s a self-explanatory song- a worshipful ballad that praises God because of who He is, and a beautiful way to end such a powerful and inspirational Christmas EP.
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 last year and this year to the fullest extent due to the global situation of COVID-19; what we all can still do in our homes while we are cooped up until next year, is to listen to this holiday album pronto, as well as their debut full length project! Part country, part worship, part fun-filled holiday 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 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: Wonderful, Grown-Up Christmas List, Christmas Is Coming
RIYL: Rend Collective, I Am They, Tenth Avenue North, Jason Castro, Chris Sligh, Colton Dixon