Provident Label Group
Release Date: February 28th 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- North Star
- Your Love is Forever
- Call on the Name
- All the Time
- Goodness (Eyes Wide Open)
- Holding Me Still
- What Love Looks Like
- Find Me At Your Feet
- Maker of the Moon
- Born to be Wild
- Love Song (feat. One Sonic Society)
- Lord You Have My Heart (feat. Martin Smith)
- What Love Looks Like (Single Version)
- Goodness (Eyes Wide Open) (Single Version)
- Holding Me Still (Single Version)
- Maker of the Moon (Single Version)
‘…I’ve always been surrounded by music as a young kid and I’ve always loved that. I love leading worship. That is my heart: leading worship at church, at youth, and Fridays at our home church. I think I’ve always just loved being able to lead people and see the presence of God come. I’ve never wanted to properly do music. That was never a dream of mine–to be an artist or write my own music. Probably a year and a half ago, God really opened that door and made himself known that this is what I’m meant to be doing. It’s new to me, but it’s also very familiar all at the same time, growing up in music. It’s scary but very exciting. I’ve worked with some amazing people. Lots of people in the industry are like uncles to me because I’ve grown up surrounded by them. It’s really bizarre writing songs with people who I’ve grown up knowing, but I’m loving it….’ Daughter of ex-Delirious? frontman and now successful solo artist Martin Smith, Elle Limebear has created a name for herself over the last few years or so, when it was evident that Elle decided to follow suit and become a music artist just like her father. Though her father was a part of the band Delirious? throughout his whole music career; Elle has decided to start off her career as a solo artist. Signing to the label house of Provident Label Group (the same label house as many other artists like Casting Crowns, Zach Williams, Tauren Wells, Matthew West, I AM THEY, Matt Maher and One Sonic Society, to name a few), Elle and her music is certain to be enjoyed by people who have been fans of her father’s band Delirious? all these years, or even other similar sounding artists who are currently taking the worship industry by storm- from Rend Collective, and Kari Jobe, to Cody Carnes, Cory Asbury and Philippa Hanna. Since releasing a flurry of singles throughout 2018 and 2019, Elle has since released Lost In Wonder in February 2020, consisting of 20 tracks- 6 originally from her debut EP released to us in 2019, alongside radio formats of already released tracks, as well as other newly recordings songs for the album, as we see Elle even sneak in a surprise within the track list of 20 tracks, a homage and a reminder to a band of the past. As Elle presses on in her father’s footsteps and creates music akin to a very similar structurally Delirious? sound, Lost in Wonder is an album full of joyous celebration and declaratory anthems as Elle presents one of the longest CCM/worship albums in modern music history (20 tracks!), and brings to us any kind of resemblance to Delirious? that we’re gonna get, considering that the band themselves have vacated their place in the music industry for over a decade thus far.
‘Love Song’, marketed as a One Sonic Society single (with Elle on vocals, as both Paul Mabury and Jason Ingram play instruments on the track and in the music video), is one of the songs that was present on Elle Limebear (EP) last year, and features a lot of layered vocals and electronics. While the song itself is plagued by a little bit of repetition of the chorus, it is Elle’s powerful and refreshing vocals that save the song, quite literally. The message of the track is nothing new- Sarah Reeves unveiled a similar themed track in ‘I Love You’ featuring Kirk Franklin last year, that is thematically similar to this new one from Elle, yet, somehow, I feel that this melody, be it the music or the power of the vocals, is captivating and emotive, something that is certainly lacking in and amongst CCM worship circles at the moment. ‘Holding Me Still’, Elle’s first radio single that was released way back in early 2018, speaks of our God who is holding us, being personal and intimate with all of His human creation, and gives us a great reminder that ‘…You’re the King of Glory, still You hold me together and You will be forever, my Prince of Peace…’; while ‘Call on Your Name’ also is a highlight on Elle’s full-length album, as Elle uses this song as a cry to the Lord, calling on His name to come alleviate her of her fears and worries, and powerfully declares the heartfelt lyrics of how ‘…I will call on Your name, Your love breaks like the light of day, Your presence here like a mighty wave…’
Initially released as part of Bright City’s album back in 2017 (a worship movement in the U.K. similar in music style to Soul Survivor); ‘Maker Of The Moon’ is a song that reminds us all what true worship is really like; and gives us a new song to sing in a season that often requires one. Not that there’s anything against older-style songs, it’s just that such a song like Elle’s is certainly one that will resonate positively with people, especially those who are indeed searching for a new worship song to connect with, for whatever reason. The message of the song is simultaneously simple yet profound- God creates the universe; but is also still committed and personable with each one of us. The song is just a tangible act of wonder back to the God of creation, in awe that He can create such a wonder as the universe, but also connect deep on a soul-level with each one of us. ‘Find Me At Your Feet’ is a much more radio friendly track, and though the song for me didn’t resonate as much as other songs on the album, the song still speaks of a topic that is important in society- coming to the Lord as we are, knowing full well that He searches more for our hearts rather than the outward expression of what we believe we can give to Him. ‘Fly’ is the last remaining song on Elle Limebear (EP) that was present here on Lost in Wonder; and here Elle gives us a theme of God taking our burdens away, so much so that it feels like we’re flying high with the strength God gives that we need to live this life.
Throughout the rest of the album, Elle gives to us newly recorded that are just as emotive and powerful compared to all the other tracks present on Elle’s previous EP, as these new songs carry on thematically from what was left from the EP released in mid-2019. ‘North Star’ is the first song on the album, is a great introduction to the album, as electronic voices and guitar work reminiscent to the days of Stu G. with Delirious?, pave the way for Elle to show us this understanding of God being our constant, our north-star in this life that we follow, our compass that shows us where we are going in this life. It is a moment of reassurance as we hear these heartfelt words of Elle’s, a great comfort and hope, that ‘…like the sun in the sky light the moon up at night, I know that You will be there, like the ground on my feet, like the air that I breathe, I know You will be there, in the motion of life, if I lift up eyes, I know that You will be there, You’ve been holding my heart, right from the start, I know You will be there…’ ‘Your Love is Forever’ follows, and is a great radio-friendly track that can hopefully get some crossover appeal- the song itself states that ‘your love is forever’- whether the song is talking about God Himself (which I’m sure the intention was!), or talking about another person (a significant other perhaps?), people are going to interpret what they wil, and hopefully more people can hear this song because of the various interpretations of the song. ‘Angels’ brings to the fore this theme and concept of guardian angels, and how around each person, whether they know it or not, there’s a guardian angel taking care of them in circumstances and situations they find themselves in; while ‘All the Time’ is again a song that brings a theme to the foreground that we as humans need to understand and really get, maybe even on a daily basis- that God is good to us, all the time. Not some of the time, or whenever He’s feeling nice- but all the time. He’s always working, and always shaping and moulding our hearts to become more sensitive to the people and world around us, and more in tune to God’s heart in general.
‘Goodness of God’ follows along thematically from ‘All the Time’ and states in this song of how we as humans respond to God’s goodness in a practical and tangible way, as Elle boldy declares that ‘…my eyes are wide open, my heart is exploding, when I think of the goodness of God, it’s ever-surprising, oh, my soul leaps inside me, when I think of the goodness of God…’, a sense of joy that overflows and oozes out of us when we see God’s fingerprints throughout our lives and understand the way God has shown His goodness to us through moments of our past, so we can hold onto them and declare them over ourselves for moments into the future. ‘Honesty’ (who’s music video released to youtube just today!), gives us a freedom like no other, as we understand that God sees and knows everything, and loves us unconditionally in spite of our flaws and underwhelming efforts we put into our façade of being perfect. And so this song is a way of saying that we’re going to live honestly from now on- we have no pressure to perform because of the unconditional love we have already received from Christ Jesus our Lord. ‘What Love Looks Like’, the current radio single from Elle, speaks of the tangible evidence of what real love looks like- and that is in the person of Jesus and His sacrifice for us; while songs ‘Breathing’ and ‘Born to the Wild’ round out the album – ‘Breathing’ is a melody that encourages us to sit at Jesus’ feet and to rid ourselves of the distractions of the world, and just breathe and meditate on God’s goodness in our lives, while ‘Born to be Wild’ is a great motivator and encourager in a reflective and contemplative way, that we were made to be more than just ordinary, living our days as if it’s just ‘run-of-the-mill’. To be wild is to take chances, to live on the edge, to enjoy the thrills of life, and to take a chance into the unknown, stepping where God leads, trusting that He knows, even if we don’t. ‘Born to be Wild’ is a statement of this. Elle also imparts to us radio versions of ‘Maker of the Moon’, ‘Holding Me Still’, ‘Goodness (Eyes Wide Open)’ and ‘What Love Looks Like’, as well as recording a cover of Delirious?’s famous radio hit (back in the day) ‘Lord You Have My Heart’, this time a duet with father and ex-Delirious? lead singer Martin Smith. The re-imagining is a fresh unique one (this time it’s more reflective and slowed-down pace-wise), and a nice revelation that songs of old can easily be re-made, without altering the message and essence of it. ‘Lord You Have My Heart’ is a great example of a reimagining for a new generation.
Elle’s future in music looks very bright. Elle has followed in her father’s footsteps, and though even now, not many people may know she is Martin Smith’s daughter; Elle has nevertheless crafted a sound that, while sounding similar to Delirious?, has a unique atmosphere and style that can be akin to something Delirious? but also being something unique and different as well. A great debut album and one that’s certain to be on repeat for me for quite some time yet, this is an album that’s certain to be enjoyed by fans of Delirious? or just fans of worship music, full stop. Well done Elle on this debut album, here’s hoping people can hear these songs and listen to Delirious? as well, and vice versa. Maybe another few more Delirious? covers in the next few albums down the track? Lost in Wonder is one of my favourites of 2020 thus far, and whomever hears these 20 songs, will I’m sure agree as well!
5 songs to listen to: What Love Looks Like, Maker of the Moon, Holding Me Still, Call on the Name, Goodness
RIYL: Delirious?, Martin Smith, Philippa Hanna, Rend Collective