Release Date: January 20th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Love & The Outcome– The Ocean Way Sessions EP (Live) (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- King Of My Heart
- Heart Like You
- The Story You’re Building In Me
- What A Promise
- He Is With Us
One of the more newer signings to Word Records are Canadian husband and wife duo Love & The Outcome. Though the duo have not had an easy road to recognition and prominence; Jodi King and Chris Rademaker felt a calling on their hearts to make music, and thus began their trek across the border from Canada to the U.S a few years ago; into the great unknown and the vastness of uncertainty. Being from another country, they had to pack up their bags (literally), acquire a new place of residence, and say goodbye to everything they’ve ever known. Jodi has recorded a few albums as a solo artist, but recently included her husband on her forthcoming studio album, and then changed the direction of the album from a solo focus to a band focus. Thus the journey of recording the self-titled debut Love & The Outcome, which released in 2013.
With the debut album having four producers (Seth Mosley, David Garcia, Jeff Pardo and Ben Glover), the seamless easy to listen 11 tracks of hope, testimony, and encouragement, wrapped up in the genre of pop, with plenty of upbeat tracks next to transparent heartfelt ballads; was one of my highlights of 2013. Jodi’s vocals are sublime all throughout, as is Chris’s guitar playing. And the lyrics are what really gets me; they’re very personal and emotional, not necessarily something you’d see on a debut album- probably a third or fourth album, but not a debut. That’s what makes these Canadians special, as they’re willing to branch out and defy expectations, just like fellow Canadian artists The City Harmonic, Hawk Nelson and Downhere. Fast forward to now, and the duo have unveiled an acoustic stripped down EP featuring 5 hits from their first album and a new track. The OceanWay Sessions EP was recorded at the famous studios called Ocean Way in California and Nashville, and Jodi and Chris have brilliantly delivered a piece of history with their sublime and near flawless efforts. So let’s see why I am now even more amazed and astounded by the duo’s prowess as writers and worshippers!
The pop electric guitar driven “King Of My Heart”, one of the band’s singles on the album, sets the EP up to the upbeat and quicker tempo, even though the EP is recorded in an acoustic setting. Presenting us with a prayer for God to defeat all of the adversities that come our way, because ‘…You are bigger than any battle I’m facing, You are better than anything I’ve been chasing; Savior and royalty, the only hope for me…’; there is uplifting and motivational lyrics, and Jodi and Chris have created an anthem for the ages, alongside the first single “He Is With Us”, and something sure to platform them into having millions of fans. “Heart Like You” is next, and the piano really accentuates the lyrics here, with the melody being very strong thematically. As Jodi prays that she wants to see the world the way that Jesus sees it, I find myself singing with her and agreeing wholeheartedly. Against a backdrop of strumming acoustic guitars and beautifully played keyboards, the intensity and passion of Chris and Jodi cannot be denied- they are deeply and passionately in love with Jesus Christ, and this authenticity is evident especially in this track, as they yearn and long for a heart like Jesus, so that many more can turn to Jesus.
The personal and most emotional song on this EP is next, with “The Story You’re Building In Me”. Based on pivotal events in their lives, the heartfelt and vulnerable tear-jerker lets us know that even the hard times are used by God to shape our story, in the way that He wants it to be shaped. Though God doesn’t cause bad things to happen to us, He does use them to glorify Him, and in that sense, everything that happens in our life will end up being useful to us in the long run. It’s that concept that rings true in this track, as the duo remind us that ‘…You know all of my days, my tomorrows are covered in grace, You’re in the middle of it all, and I want to say I’m thankful…’, a notion that will reassure us, and comes in a timely fashion as the 3rd track of 6.
“What A Promise” and “He Is With Us”, the last song and the 2nd song on the studio album respectively, are the last couple of familiar tracks before the final ‘new’ melody from Love & The Outcome. “What A Promise” is as perfect as songs come period, as the vibe I received in the studio album is an epic orchestral type song that Michael W Smith sometimes records on his instrumental albums, and now the vibe is still special, with the acoustic guitar and keys adding a new layer and a different perspective as well. Reminding us that God’s promises are to be trusted and relied upon 100%, and that there’s ‘…nothing we can do, nothing we can say, no; could ever take away, ever take away, Your love, You give strength to the faithful to rise up on eagle’s wings, what a promise, what a promise…’, Chris and Jodi show us a worship anthem with their passion and an unbridled love for Jesus bursting through. Probably one of the most popular and played songs on the radio, “He Is With Us” features a catchy and contagious chorus lyrically, as well as musically. The track is the duo’s testimony of God’s faithfulness and promises over the past few years, and an assurance that we can trust Him in all circumstances. From the first time listening to the song, it was plain to see that they had a winner- and things haven’t changed one and a half years later- the track is still a winner; as even now as I write this review, the song is still in my head (and that’s definitely a good thing!). Add the creative music video to the mix, and you have a song that has catapulted Jodi and Chris firmly into everyone’s living rooms, and our hearts.
The final track is the brand new song “Home”, a soft contemplative ballad led by keys and acoustic guitar. As Jodi passionately and eloquently sings about the extent of God’s love and how that ‘…in Your arms I feel Your love listening, in Your eyes I feel Your heart waiting, You’re calling me home…Your love is calling me home…’, I am reminded of the parables of the prodigal son and the lost sheep in the Bible and how God loves us so very much, that He would run to the ends of the earth just to save us (even if there was only one person to save)! Hopefully “Home” is on Love & The Outcome’s next studio album (the song is pretty good!), but if not, and it’s only included on this EP, then that is fine too. Well done Jodi and Chris for a stellar EP that has me clapping and singing along for the entire duration!
For me personally, I love Love & The Outcome’s debut album very much- their 2013 self titled debut album was my favourite in terms of debut albums, closely followed by Everfound and 1 Girl Nation. The album is an extremely honest portrayal of the trials and tribulations of a young Canadian couple and how they’ve found life in America, and how God has remained faithful through every situation. So after my analysis of the follow up EP, should you all go ahead and buy the songs, even though they are incarnations of songs we’ve heard already? Of course, you can never go wrong with some music from Jodi and Chris, who remind me of Britt Nicole vocally and Stu G musically respectively; and both of them ought to be congratulated, for recording their music in a different light. Well done guys, I can’t wait for your new studio album releasing in 2015 sometime!
3 songs to listen to: He Is With Us, What A Promise, King Of My Heart
RIYL: Natalie Grant, Britt Nicole, Mandisa, Kerrie Roberts