Release Date: June 23rd 2017
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- You Change Me
- It All Belong To You
- In All Things Jesus
- Death Was Arrested
- Wake Up My Soul
- That’s Who Jesus Is
“…[The Gospel] is absolutely the reason we exist as a band. Tim Keller says that any sermon that doesn’t lead the listener back to the cross is, at best, an informative Sunday school lesson. A great sermon, like great art, moves you and heightens your affections for Christ. His direct quote is “A good sermon is not like a club that beats upon the will but like a sword that cuts to the heart.” We want to reflect this. When we lead worship and write songs we are trying our best to articulate an attribute of God and/or a response to the things He has done. This good news informs everything we do as a worship band, as pastors and leaders at our church, and as husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, friends, and citizens. We want to see everything through the lens of the cross and resurrection…” Comprising of Dustin Fension (vocals, guitar), Lydia Laird (vocals, keys), Stephen Hampton (guitars) and Jorge Lopez Jr. (drums), People Of The Earth originated in Somerset, Kentucky, and released a self titled full length album in 2015, yet if you asked a random person who listened to Christian radio who the band is, or even worship enthusiasts, or even me 6 months ago, I don’t think you’d get a clear, confident answer. Well that sentiment is about to change with the band’s enthusiastic, eclectic, vibrant, moving, inspiring and honest follow-up EP In All Things, which released a week or so ago. Comprising of 6 inspiring potential worship hits, inclusive of a cover of probably one of the most popular worship songs right now; In All Things is one of my favourite EP’s of 2017, and is a must listen to if you’re a fan of artists like Hillsong Worship, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and Matt Maher.
Speaking of that popular worship cover, it is…”Death Was Arrested”. Yep, the track originally recorded by North Point InsideOut and already covered twice by Aaron Shust, and by Laura Story. Probably that’s why People Of The Earth is destined to be big over the next year- predominately because of “Death Was Arrested”. Which I totally get, yet hopefully listeners take the time to listen to the other 5 songs, and not just the song that they are familiar with. Nonetheless, “Death Was Arrested” probably will be the song to receive the most airplay at radio during 2017, partly because it has already been covered so much. But there is indeed truth and a simple concept there- as both Lydia and Dustin reiterate the simple yet emotional and honest message of Jesus delivering us from sin, and arresting death, so that we can have new life in Him. With both vocalists proclaiming across anthemic guitars and keys that ‘…Your grace, so free washes over me, You have made me new, now life begins with You, it’s Your endless love, pouring down on us, You have made us new, now life begins with You…’, we are glimpsed into the love and devotion we all should have for the One who died for each one of us personally.
The rest of the songs are just are brilliant and flawlessly sung as the cover. EP opener “You Change Me” has a Finding Favour like vibe as the country/pop/CCM 3 minute melody speaks of the sentiment that Jesus changes us from the inside out, that ‘…like a brand new day, rising from the grave, You change me, You change, I’ll never be the same, when You call my name…’, while the worshipful ballad “It All Belongs To You” is as transparent and emotional as any ballad I’ve heard in a while, as Dustin fervently recounts to us that everything on Earth belongs to Jesus, therefore we cannot not do anything with what God has called us to steward- our talents, our knowledge, our money, our relationships- it’s all His anyway, so we might as well use it to make His name renown, right? As long as we do everything we can to point people closer to Jesus- that’s the essence of this song, and a personal highlight on the EP.
Title track “In All Things Jesus” is next, and though a bit repetitive, is lyrically sound, despite having a predictable musical CCM sound- as the band ardently reiterate that we have freedom, victory and hope in Jesus, that in everything we do, we can conquer any situation and overcome anything with Jesus with us. While the final two worship anthems “Wake Up My Soul” and “That’s Who Jesus Is” being rerecordings from their debut 2015 album- the former is a bouncy 3-minute melody driven by synth and guitars, as we ask God to ‘…wake up my soul, I want to believe the impossible, and I want to see the incredible, this is the dawn of hope, wake up my soul…’, and the latter is a slower tempo ballad (and the only track I would say to listen to from In All Things if you would have to pick one!) that basically tells the gospel, that ‘…there was a cross on a hill and forgiveness had a name, holy blood that was spilled, to cover sin and shame, there was a stone rolled away as He walked out of that grave, now we have victory in Him- that’s who Jesus is…’. All In all, the EP is quite strong with no real faults- the only nit-pick is that the EP is too short! As soon as I’ve gotten into these songs, they finish!
“…God draws people to Himself. His beauty is on display through Jesus. Sometimes it’s tough in the world we live in now to comprehend the beauty of a God who would restore, rescue, walk and suffer with us. That’s a God who is worthy of our worship. The Bible actually says everyone will worship Him at some point, but we’re just trying to get the party started a little early…” Mark my words- People Of The Earth are set for a long and fruitful career. Even if they end up like The Newsboys with multiple member changes, that’ll still be ok, as they will still be pointing to Jesus and making His name famous and renown through song! So in one sentence, let me say that In All Things is something special- you all should check it out! With beautiful lyrics and a stellar mix of many genres, there’s no need for me to write anymore. Well done guys, I can’t wait for your next album!
3 songs to listen to: It All Belongs To You, Death Was Arrested, That’s Who Jesus Is
RIYL: Hillsong Worship, Newsong, Finding Favour, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Matt Maher