Release Date: March 25th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- King Rise
- We are Waiting
- Apostle’s Creed
- Divine Creed
Indie artists seem to have a hard go at it. Without much, if any support, they pour out their hearts and souls into album releases, yet to come up against artists like TobyMac, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Britt Nicole and the like, indie artists seem to always lose out, even though indie artists may give the listener a better listening experience in relation to the artistic expression and the fact that there is no label telling them what to have on an album and what not to have. Therein lies a space where indie artists can showcase their music- both on noisetrade and bandcamp, some of the most popular sites where individuals can look towards if they want to check out some new artists.
It is on bandcamp where I found out the music of Miranda Dodson, an indie worship artist that has unveiled arguably one of the most enjoyable indie worship EP’s since The Sonflowerz’s 2013 gem Love Walked In. Certainly from left field, Miranda’s music is a gift, and certainly music to be listened to and enjoyed if you are a lover of great worship music akin to that of Kari Jobe or Meredith Andrews. With a vocal similarity to artists like JJ Heller and Laura Story; Miranda’s vulnerability and transparency is what makes Ascend EP one of the most underrated EP’s of 2014 so far. From the acoustically driven “The Apostle’s Creed” to the CCM opener “Victorious”; Miranda’s music is certain to bless whomever listens, with the hope that her popularity increases in the future.
The first song on the EP, “Victorious” starts with a powerful drum beat and a noticeable bass line as Miranda leaps into declarations in the powerful words of how ‘…You have overcome sin, You have overcome death, You have overcome all evil, You are making all things new, even me, brand new, spirit seal by grace pursued…’ As we reflect on how we as sons and daughters of God are victorious in Christ Jesus, it is in this knowledge of where freedom begins and striving ends that we can freely worship without worry. Fit to be on radio rotation, Miranda’s emotive voice and easy to learn lyrics and melodies ought to enough for the listener to become enthralled (like I am) with the album. I’m even currently on my 5th continuous rotation of “Victorious”- that’s how enjoyable the first track really is.
About how God has overcome all our obstacles so we can live fully the victorious life He has given us; Miranda continues the celebratory mood in “King Rise”; another CCM-like melody with light acoustics and a strong drum beat. Singing about Christ’s birth and ‘…the hope of all nations, Gloria…[You] suffered and declared Your love, behold this is the Saviour King…’; Miranda gives us a reason to declare out God’s praises in a song simple in lyrical progression and musical arrangement, yet poignant and deep in meaning as we reflect on what Christ has done for us as a result of His death and resurrection- ‘…glory uncontrolled, wrongs be uprighted, evil overthrown, newness of creation deep in our bones…’ A song that would fit quite well in Sunday morning song sets at church; Miranda’s most upbeat track is indeed one of my favourites. Well done Miranda, and what a great way to start off the EP with “Victorious” and “King Rise”, arguably songs that anchor the album thematically as we are given a space to praise our Saviour!
Throughout the rest of the EP, Miranda continues to wow us with her heartfelt music and enjoyable melodies. Still having a Laura Story vocal similarity throughout the whole album; Miranda brings forth another song based upon the Apostle’s Creed (alongside other songs like Newsboys’s “We Believe”, Third Day’s “Creed”- a Rich Mullins cover, and The City Harmonic’s “Manifesto”). Aptly titled “Apostle’s Creed”; Miranda sings a virtually line-by-line inscription from stanza-to-song of the creed both Catholics and Protestants know all too well. A song to affirm what we believe in as Christians, this piano and acoustic guitar prominent melody is one of my favourite songs to discuss the creed, and a great reflective melody to contrast the upbeat songs prior. “We Are Waiting”, an acoustic melody that brings forth a spirit of waiting across to listeners as we see how in waiting we can rest and dwell on God’s presence (and hopefully be open to His speaking), is yet another melody that gives us a moment of reflection; while Miranda’s last track “Divine Love” is a great end to the EP as we witness a quiet, tranquil and string heavy melody that reminds us of the divine love given by God to bring us back to Him!
Miranda Dodson, while around the music scene for around 4-5 years, is still relatively new- even myself, who I consider someone who is relatively open to a wide range of Christian music, only discovered Miranda’s music this year. While not well known, even now, Miranda still champions a music style that is great to listen to, and one that’ll hopefully propel her to new heights, both professionally and personally. An EP to listen to if you are a fan of soft tranquil worship artists, Ascend EP is certainly an experience like no other, and worth nothing less than 4 stars out of 5. An artist that’ll only be more popular because of her great worship music in the future, well done Miranda for such a poignant and enjoyable EP!
3 songs to listen to: Divine Love, King Rise, Victorious
RIYL: Meredith Andrews, Kari Jobe, Laura Story, JJ Heller