Release Date: November 25th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Beautiful Things
- 10,000 Reasons
- Lead Me To The Cross
- Forever Reign
- Our God
- Here For You
Consisting of 5 brothers of Samoan-American heritage, the former Gotee Records alumni band The Katinas have been recording pop/soul/CCM/worship albums since the mid-1990s. While it can seem like staying together as a band (with no lineup changes) can seem to be impossible (just look at Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys, Kutless, Hawk Nelson and Group 1 Crew to name a few), these 5 brothers have stuck together since the group’s inception to bring us some of the best CCM melodies with a Pacific Islander music atmosphere, influenced by their own legacy and culture. While the band haven’t released a full worship album until now (with Sunday Set releasing at the end of November 2014 and showcasing some of the most popular worship melodies sung on Sunday mornings), The Katinas have displayed such fervent enthusiasm to bring us one of the most energetic worship albums of the year so far, even though all the songs on the album are covers. From Hillsong UNITED’s “Oceans” and Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons”, to One Sonic Society’s “Forever Reign” and Gungor’s “Beautiful Things”; this is a must for any worship song enthusiast, and lovers of artists like Matt Redman, Bethel, Jesus Culture or Hillsong.
Listening to this album is exactly how a Sunday service would feel- familiar songs and easy-to-learn lyrics for congregational worship. Aside from the song “Rain”, I know every song on the album, and to say that this list of 9 (minus the track I am unfamiliar with) are some of the most popular, well known and enjoyable worship songs over the last few years is an understatement. In fact, dare I go to say that these melodies are some of the most sung songs on Sundays around the world currently? Chris Tomlin’s “Our God” is possibly the most well-known song by Christ sung in churches after “How Great is Our God”, so it was fitting for The Katinas to place their own twist and spin on the song. In fact, all of the songs on Sunday Set have their own Samoan flavour- big sounding keyboards, light percussion and great harmonies between each of the 5 brothers.
Reviewing an album basically full of covers can be a hard thing to do. Especially when the songs are some of my favourite worship songs ever- do I review the actual song, the arrangement, how the verses and the choruses progressed? Whether the arrangement was similar to the original recording, or different in any way? With The Katinas, their interpretations of songs like “Beautiful Things”, “Lead Me to the Cross”, “Our God”, “Oceans”, “Here for You” and “Indescribable” were all pretty much similar to original versions, and while all of them were great to hear in a different unique Samoan-style way, it were songs like “Forever Reign”, “10,000 Reasons” and “Alive” that caught my attention when hearing Sunday Set.
Made popular by Hillsong and One Sonic Society, “Forever Reign” is a melody that, while not necessarily sung as much outside of Hillsong Church, is a favourite of mine. Speaking about how God is good and faithful, reigning above and over every circumstance, The Katinas show us a ‘call and response’ style of verses, with each brother singing a section of verses 1, 2 and 3 to present an element of conversation- between us and God. A unique way of presenting a song that has probably been sung to death amongst people who travel to Hillsong Church, The Katinas continue to surprise, with Hillsong Young and Free single “Alive” being given the Samoan treatment. With acoustics, a swaying beat and electronics, we see The Katinas venture into a genre they’ve never really recorded in before- while it seems odd initially, the brothers give a solid rendition of a song that may only appeal to a more youth/young adult audience.
“10,000 Reasons” was also given a slight twist towards the end of the song- with the brothers singing out a refrain of how we ought to ‘…bless the Lord, oh my soul, 10,000 reasons for my heart to find…’, we are reminded of how many times we ought to give thanks- 10,000 reasons for Christ’s death and resurrection is only the start. “Rain”, a song that I myself hadn’t heard before prior to me listening to Sunday Set, was also nicely choreographed by the group- with the song reminding and encouraging us to allow for Christ’s rain to fall upon us in whatever way or fashion it may come; the brothers showcase a standout amongst the 10 tracks, and a melody to certainly be in my iTunes playlist for months to come.
Even without the label of Gotee Records, The Katinas have once again showed us an arrangement of worship songs that can be easy to listen to, enjoy, sing along to, and worship alongside the band as this collection of 10 songs proves the band’s versatility into more musical styles- to be honest, I probably wouldn’t have thought the band could pull of Hillsong Young and Free’s “Alive”- but they did! A must for anyone who loves church music, worship music or any one of the many worship movements around the world, Sunday Set is a standout in November 2014, alongside Andrew Peterson’s re-recorded best of songs and Newsboys’s first hymns project, Hallelujah to the Cross. Well done guys for such an enjoyable and worshipful album!
3 songs to listen to: 10,000 Reasons, Alive, Forever Reign
RIYL: Bethel Music, Hillsong UNITED, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman