Release Date: August 7th 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Lion and the Lamb
- Reckless Love
- Holy Spirit
We’re here in 2020. And what a sight to behold it is. New great music has been unveiled to us for us all enjoy. Albums from Chris Tomlin, Matthew West, Tauren Wells, We the Kingdom, Lindsay Ell, Cory Asbury, Charles Billingsley, Echosmith, Matt Maher, The McClymonts, Mandy Moore, Jason Gray, Avalon, Rend Collective, Elle Limebear, Marie Miller, Ellie Holcomb, Sidewalk Prophets and Rebecca St. James, have all graced Apple Music and Amazon over the course of the last year or so, providing to us anthems that have lifted us up during this uncertain time of COVID-19. Now to add something else to this list of great albums of 2020. No seriously, this new EP is perhaps one of my favourite of 2020 thus far. No really. Drum roll please…Seventh Day Slumber have just unveiled to us their brand new EP- 5 songs, and what does it entail: 5 songs, consisting of only one original track! What? You don’t believe me that this is my favourite EP of the year thus far? No I promise, this is definitely my favourite…well, now that I know that you’ve seen through my gaff, sarcasm and charade, I’ll tell you how I really feel about this EP, in light of my utmost respect for the band and what they have done over the years. Yes, this EP standing at 5 tracks include in it 4 covers (Lion and the Lamb, Reckless Love, Oceans, Holy Spirit) and only one original track. And yes, I do admire Seventh Day Slumber and their heart for ministry- I’ve even enjoyed albums in the past like Take Everything, Once Upon a Shattered Life, Love & Worship and The Anthem of Angels, to name a few. But to be here in 2020 and announcing there is indeed another EP releasing from these guys, when there was actually an unveiling of an all-new studio album last year, can seem like a little too much.
And maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Maybe to some people, Seventh Day Slumber is their favourite band, and these guys can do no wrong. Maybe people’s lives have been changed by this band, and I commend Joseph Rojas and the guys on such feats, if that were the case. Yet, for me, this new EP, as well-intended it is, seems to fall a little flatter than even they themselves intended. The original recordings of these cover songs are good- ‘Oceans’ is by far one of my favourite songs from UNITED, and ‘Reckless Love’ is one of my favourite all time worship songs ever. Even here on this EP, amongst all the noise of the electric guitars, the covers of both ‘Reckless Love’ and ‘Oceans’ are comparable, all things considered. But for me, I’ve never really been much of a fan of worship songs covered relentlessly and without fail, year after year after year, but every artist you can possibly think of. And I know it can seem blunt and even uncharacteristic of me to say this, but it just seems on face value that this band is capitalising on these songs and are just recording them because…well, just to say they’ve done a cover of this famous worship song. As much as I want to believe that there’s heart, poignancy and emotion behind any of these songs, it seems a little difficult when half the time you’re trying to drown out the electric guitars so as to enjoy the song yourself rather than to get distracted by the instruments. Even the lone original track, ‘Eternity’, seems forgettable when placed against ‘Reckless Love’- by the end of the EP, I kinda forgot about the original track and how it went, too.
Needless to say, this band is 10/10 for effort and heart (as evidenced in countless of other albums previously), but here on this release, there seems to be a lot of it lacking. For me I’d just check out the original recordings of these songs- especially ‘Oceans’ and ‘Reckless Love’- two great songs that have impacted a generation and both stand tall out of any other worship song in the 2010s decade (well, maybe except songs like ‘Good Good Father’, ‘What a Beautiful Name’ and ‘10000 Reasons’). Nevertheless, this is an album if you enjoy a lot of Seventh Day Slumber songs…and that’s about it. Even people who love a lot of corporate worship songs, may or may not get into this, because of the heavy instrumentation that seems to take away and discount from the overall worshipful experience. Alas, this EP has indeed released, and maybe, in the heat of the moment, I’m being a little too harsh on the band. Regardless, this EP didn’t click for me at the moment. Maybe later, but if you’re looking for a lot of originality in these covers, then Seventh Day Slumber isn’t it- they’re too electric-gutiar driven and sound very formulaic- verse, chorus, verse, bridge, no room for a little bit of flexibility (but not too much, like songs from Bethel Music!). And so the EP has dropped, and maybe you’ll hear it and be impacted by this EP…good on you, then. But even if the band are covering some of my favourite songs of all time, I’d still be hesitant. Then again, I do miss the mixture of rock, light pop and acoustic presence on their 2009 album Take Everything. Now that is how to do a worship album. Maybe Take Everything Part 2 can be released soon? Or just listen to Take Everything and other cover worship songs, just for your sanity I reckon. Or just listen to these songs still; but turn your volume down a little. Whichever one is the easiest for you. You’ll thank me later!
3 songs to listen to: Reckless Love, Oceans, Holy Spirit
RIYL: Skillet, RED, Fireflight, Flyleaf, 7eventh Time Down, Hillsong Worship, Cory Asbury