Release Date: January 20th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Savior of the World
- Kingdom Come
- Carry Me
- Salvation Story
- Holy Spirit
- Set a Fire
- I Am Set Free
- All for the King (Acoustic)
- Holy Spirit (Radio Edit)
Known for their smash hit “Don’t Give Up” which garnered much radio airplay during 2012, especially on K-Love radio, independent worship/pop/CCM/rock band Calling Glory have been one of my favourite artists of late, with their sound likened to Crowder meets Tenth Avenue North meets Leeland. Now, with their new 9 song EP Life And Spirit, we are treated to a brilliant worship album that is set to garner much attention and notice this year. Releasing on the same day as albums from Love & The Outcome, Vertical Church Band and Northpoint Music; the quartet’s offering deserves to be listened to thoroughly, maybe 3-4 times over. That wouldn’t even be enough to savour the captivating music and inspiring lyrics; that’s how great this EP is! So let’s dive in to see which tracks are my favourite!
First of all, it was the 3 covers of “Holy Spirit”, “Set A Fire” and “I Am Set Free” from Jesus Culture, United Pursuit and All Sons And Daughters respectively, that drew me to the album, and these renditions do not disappoint. Already covered recently by Francesca Battistelli on the deluxe edition of her album If We’re Honest; Calling Glory’s version is slightly more subdued and led by the stirring electric guitar, with lead singer Dana Potvin majestically and beautifully worshipping Jesus, and making the song their own! The band does this song justice (unlike how other artists butcher their covers and present them in an unrecognisable light); and possibly improves upon it as well, matching Francesca’s version. As Dana and co stick quite close to the tempo of the original track, and deliver the worship anthem with zeal and raw vulnerability as they cry out ‘…Holy Spirit, You are welcome here, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere, Your glory God is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by Your presence Lord…’; the inclusion of an explosive instrumental bridge as well as a shortened radio version as the album closer, which is also powerful and moving, makes this song the highlight of the duration of the EP.
“Set A Fire”, originally written and recorded by United Pursuit, is deftly and professionally led by absorbing keys and mesmerising electric guitar, as the band turn the quiet, contemplative worship ballad into a rock anthem. Akin to something Seventh Day Slumber or Kutless would record, this version works, and is thoroughly enjoyable. As the band passionately sing out that God can ‘..set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain, that I can’t control, I want more of You God…’, there’s a sense of freedom that washes over me, as I sing out at the top of my lungs and sing to God as well for the fact that He is good! Not that familiar with “I Am Set Free” prior this recording, the All Sons And Daughters penned track starts off with light acoustics and then swells with big and booming electric guitar and a choir to an epic worship anthem. As Dana sings out about forgiveness and freedom that comes with repentance, and how ‘…I am set free…it is for freedom that I am set free…’, I am reminded of God’s love for us, and the lengths He went to protect and treasure that love, which gets me emotional sometimes, yet always grateful. Well done guys for these covers that add another depth to the album!
Now, onto the originals. Let’s start with the album opener, shall we? Originally thinking that the song was the Ben Cantelon cover, “Saviour Of The World” follows the same theme of God being the Saviour of the world, and relaying that part through a song of gratitude. Led by light electric guitar and piano, the band remind us that we can know the depths of God’s love, and that we can sing out with conviction ‘…we thank You for the blood that was shed for us, now covered by Your grace we have been redeemed, forever You remain the saviour of the world…’. What a simple yet lyrically profound chorus that speaks volumes and simply amazes me every time I listen while remembering the extreme lengths God went to because of His love for us!
While “Kingdom Come” is led by banjo and features a country atmosphere, Calling Glory seamlessly blend into folktronica quite nicely, seemingly having a ball. Thematically reminding me of The Great Commission in the New Testament, and how we should go out into the world, telling people about Jesus to those who Jesus moves us towards, the most impressive part of the track stylistically is the word by word recital of the first part of the Lord’s Prayer as the bridge. The first single “Carry Me”, another favourite of mine, has Dana sounding eerily like Jon Micah Sumrall, and has the band singing the most personal melody yet. The most CCM sounding track on the album, the melody is led by mid tempo guitars and refreshing keys, and should be the song that propels Calling Glory to be signed to a major label if that is where God is leading them towards. Singing about how God holds us and carries us throughout storms even when we don’t know why and don’t understand; this song has made me an avid fan of Calling Glory! Well done guys for the most emotional and passionate track on the EP!
“Salvation Story”, another country/folk tune that includes banjos, ukuleles and bongos, explores Dana’s salvation story about how ‘…Jesus Your love it came to save me, save me, and in my heart I feel Your grace amazing, how could I even repay for what You did on that day…’, and the last song presented on this short but powerful batch of moving and inspiring songs, is an acoustic version of “All For The King”. Already present on Teach Me To Love; this acoustic version stays close to the original and is a great inclusion here, as we are gently reminded about how everything we do, everything we have, is all for Jesus. What a great song, and what an extraordinary band that is sure to shine in the spotlight this year for their song writing and worshipping through song!
What can I say about Calling Glory’s new release that I haven’t already? Being an independent album, the production here is top notch! While I would have wanted the album to last a little longer, Dana and his friends have recorded more than enough for me to recommend this release to all who listen! Life And Spirit should be on everyone’s iTunes rotation or on any other media device; the subject matter of God being our life and our everything is a bonus! Now, time to dwell upon how their next album would sound like! Keep up the amazing work guys!
3 songs to listen to: Carry Me, Kingdom Come, Holy Spirit
RIYL: Crowder, Sidewalk Prophets, Tenth Avenue North, Leeland, Kutless