Release Date: August 16th 2014
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Jovenes Somos
- Te Exaltare
- Rey Glorioso
- We are The Young
- Risen King
- Arquitectura (Acustica)
In 2012,Dream Records, the home of Press Play, Jonathan Thulin, Silverline, We Are Leo, Loftland, Warr Acres, and Cindy Cruse Radcliff to name a few; signed Evan Craft to their label, and he has subsequently gained plenty of American and Spanish fans with his debut album Giants as well as his Spanish album Yo Soy Segundo and various Spanish and English worship cover videos. Now Evan has released his part Spanish, part English 10 track new album, titled Jovenes Somos; independently instead of on Dream Records, even though he is still signed to the label. Personally I was blown away by Evan’s sincerity, integrity, passion, and vocal ability beyond his years in his debut album, and this new batch of songs is no different, with plenty of encouraging and inspiring melodies for everyone; even a cover of Jonathan Thulin’s popular hit “Architecture”!
In the case of this album, 5 songs are in Spanish and the other 5 (except for 1 which is an acoustic version of the Spanish version of “Architecture”) are in English (which are exact translations of the Spanish songs, down to the instruments used!). Now while some may feel cheated by this album, as it’s essentially 5 songs repeated again in a different way, I myself was blessed and inspired by these tracks, even if I myself don’t know my Spanish enough to understand the Spanish songs. If you think about the track list like 2 different EP’s then Evan has crafted a compelling and interesting set of melodies. Though not perfect by any means in its delivery, the album is enough for me to be excited about what Evan is doing next. Hopefully his 3rd album has more English tracks, or even more Spanish tracks (20 track album in the future?)
The pseudo title track “We Are The Young” opens the track listing (in its Spanish form) and is driven by electronics, synth and stirring guitar riffs. A dance/remix melody at heart, Evan brings to the fore the concept that we can live for God and be passionate and fervent for our faith as we are young, and have no reason to be scared it God convicts something in our hearts. As Evan eloquently cries out in the catchy chorus that ‘…we are the young, we won’t ever stop singing the song of freedom…we’re pressing on, all for the name of Jesus…’, a sense of urgency is evident- as it’s when we’re in our 20’s where we most likely will have the most spare time. Evan is suggesting that young people use that time to glorify God instead of building ourselves up. And that is a feat worth pursuing, well done Evan for a compelling opener on both mini-albums!
“Collide”, a mid tempo worship anthem driven by electric guitar and pulsating drums, reminds me musically of Chris Tomlin or Hillsong, and was a radio single released last year. One of the standouts on the album, Evan dives in and speaks about Romans 8:38-39, and the fact that God is with us always, and His love always stays with us, helping us and guiding us through the storms of life, even if we feel as if we are alone. The potent and captivating chorus, in which Evan proclaims that ‘…nothing can separate me from Your great love, nothing can come between me and my God, even the earth may shake, and the oceans roar, it is Your love, Your love and my heart colliding…’ reminds me of the immensity and sheer greatness of God’s love, and the sovereignty of His plan. Though perhaps a little confronting, “Collide” is necessary for us to hear, I believe, as we grapple with and try to understand God’s unending love that sometimes boggles our mind!
Both “Glorify” and “Risen King” are sung with Raalon Kennedy, and are both enjoyable. “Glorify” is a high octane dance club remix type electronic melody that gives praises to God, as Evan sings out ‘…teach us the walk in Your ways, teach us to love like Your Son, show us your heart, we’ll glorify Your name…’. Playing out musically similar to a Hillsong Young and Free dance tune, this is a song fit for moving to and rocking out to at a bar or a disco. On the other hand, “Risen King” is a radio friendly vertical worship ballad, led by acoustic guitar, where Evan passionately sings that Jesus is the risen King, that He is sovereign and that His qualities are peerless and matchless. Yet it is Evan’s Spanish singing duet with Jonathan Thulin that initially grabbed my attention to this album.
The clever melody “Architecture”, as heard by Jonathan Thulin as a single earlier in the year, brilliantly describes manmade structures, with Jonathan using the allegory of God’s creation to show God’s handiwork and mighty strength explored in the subtle frameworks of each modern masterpiece. Going on to further highlight that even in the buildings man creates, the foundation is still God, and that everything on this planet points back to Jesus; the chorus of ‘…You built me up like a city of gold, the battles rage but I’m standing tall, you formed my heart like an empire, the wind and rain can’t stop this fire…’, is probably one of the most creative and ingenious choruses, as Jonathan describes the purposes of the buildings, and our own purposes in life as well- to point everything back to Jesus and give Him glory in whatever we do! In these two versions, Evan and Jonathan sing together in harmony quite well, and Evan sticks very close to the original version (despite singing in Spanish, which is still compelling and moving); as we are presented with a worthy cover ending both parts of the album with gusto. Well done Evan for an overall inspiring and enjoyable album, that is sure to maybe help me improve my Spanish skills, and draw me closer in communion with God.
All in all, Evan Craft’s new Ep/album Jovenes Somos is one of the surprise packages of 2014, that came out of left field for me. But it is still enjoyable, albeit on the short side; nevertheless it is fun to listen to these melodies again and again. Well done Evan! I pray that many people are blessed by this album, and hopefully listeners can be exposed to more music genres through this musically diverse, creative and eclectic batch of songs.
3 songs to listen to: Collide, Glorify, Arquitectura
RIYL: Jonathan Thulin, Loftland, Salvador, Julissa, Nicole Croteau