Release Date: August 12th 2016
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- I See You
- For The King
- Before You Formed Me
- Love Chased Me
- Sing to Me
It is only so often that an EP or album wows you from the get go. Albums like Worship and Believe (Steven Curtis Chapman), Where the Light Gets In (Jason Gray), Love Remains (Hillary Scott), Of Dirt and Grace (UNITED) and Power (Group 1 Crew) are some of the albums that stood out this year, alongside EPs from Erik Nieder, Scarlett Fade, LoveCollide, Austin and Lindsey Adamec, and Chandler Roberts. Now enter sister band The Thomas Sisters. With virtually no publicity or even promotion, this aspiring worship duo has released their debut EP, Love Chased Me. Now I know what you’re thinking- there’s a lot of albums that release year after year. A lot of artists, those who are signed and those who are independent. How can an album or EP stand out amongst the rest? Well, The Thomas Sisters and their EP impressed…think of artists like The Sonflowerz, LoveCollide, BarlowGirl and even soulful artist Lara Landon. With all these artists and influences, this is how The Thomas Sisters sound like. Pop meets worship meets soul, meets a lot of harmonies. And I reckon the fact that they are not on a label actually works in their favour. Sometimes a label can define and limit the sound a band or artist can take. Not that I don’t respect Christian labels, it’s just that there’s something unique, mysterious, different, powerful and encouraging about hearing an independent artist. In this case, you probably wouldn’t have even thought The Thomas Sisters were independent, if you heard their music- it’s that good, production-wise. So who would listen to and like the EP? Well, lovers of good pop/worship and great harmonies. I’d say the artist they are most similar to are The Sonflowerz, with a little bit of LoveCollide and BarlowGirl thrown in for good measure. That’s a good comparison right? Their debut EP released last week, and while I have only heard the EP a few times, I can safely say that it has climbed up dramatically into one of my favourite EP’s of 2016 thus far! Should you hear the album and part with your money on iTunes? Read on to find out.
The first radio single from the duo, “I See You” is the first song on the EP. Hearing the song has given me great nostalgia of artists like BarlowGirl with their great harmonies, as well as LoveCollide with their big ball of energy. Not to mention the sisters worshipful hearts that make them a great group to listen to if you have enjoyed all of the albums from another worship duo- The Sonflowerz. As we hear from the sisters themselves in a behind the song video, we are reminded that God doesn’t come with us with anger- but rather through love and a comforting spirit. He yearns for us to come back to Him, which is why “I See You” feels more like a prodigal son style song rather than a condemnation one…as a song should be- we as listeners respond more to a song that shows us everything we are in Christ than a song that points out all of our flaws.
With gang vocals from the start to make the song fit and primed for radio (not that radio songs are a bad thing, sometimes there is a formula that songs need to be fitted into…), the sisters encourage us to remember that God will always be the one to care for us when others cannot. A song sung from God’s point of view, The Thomas Sisters have given us a song that, while it may not be as popular as songs this year from artists like Hillary Scott, Needtobreathe, Tenth Avenue North or Newsboys; what “I See You” nevertheless has is passion, heart, emotion and a message we all need to hear, that ‘…I’ll be the One to love you, and I’ll be the one to show you how much I care…when life’s far from fair, I’ll always be there…’
Throughout the rest of the album, The Thomas Sisters give us a further 5 songs that are just as enjoyable and memorable as “I See You”- in fact, dare I say that some songs on the 6 track EP are even as good, or better than the radio single? “For The King” allows The Thomas Sisters to channel both Becca Nicholson and Elisa Tipps of The Sonflowerz as a song that describes how great it is to live your life, for the people around you, and for Christ Himself, becomes a great anthem, and much more impacting, to me at least, than the first single…maybe “For the King” single #2? As the sisters remind us that ‘…greater is He who sits on the throne, to journey this life with, than travel alone, my walk has a greater meaning, to lay down my crown for the King…’, this acoustic and lightly electric guitar driven reflective song full of harmonies has become a favourite of mine on the EP. “Intercede” is a poppy CCM three minute track about how God always intercedes for us, in the moments where we need Him the most, as we receive LoveCollide vibes from the duo. “Intercede” is a song of hope and comfort, that God hears us pray and will intercede for us, fighting on our behalf the battles we may feel like we can’t on our own.
As short as it is powerful and poignant, “Intercede” moves on to “Before You Formed Me”, a Gateway Worship-esque melody that comes to life in the hopeful words of how before God formed us in our mother’s womb, He knew us from the inside out- what our hopes, dreams, fears, trials and triumphs would be, and would know how our lives would turn out- setting our lives apart as we become more in awe of a God who makes the world, yet still is intimate with His creation on a personal level. Starting with riveting keyboard notes, the title track is similar thematically to “I See You”, this time sung from our point of view to God- that in the moments when we didn’t even want to be saved, God’s unending and all-pursuing love chased us, even when we were at our lowest, showing us that love unconditional was poured out to us, often on a continual and daily basis. The Thomas Sisters strips everything away in “Sing to Me”, a piano only song just shy of 4 minutes with just the vocals of the sisters and the keyboard as the sole instrument. A song of praise to our Father, asking Him to sing over us and remind us who we are in Him, this is a great way to end the EP- with just a song as musically simple as “Sing to Me”, with no other musical distractions as we sit quietly and reflect on the lyrics being sung. Well done to The Thomas Sisters, for such an honest moment of vulnerability and humble worship, a song that defines, as best as possible, what it means to pour out our souls to our Father in an art of worship. Well done girls for such a powerful song, and a great album ender to Love Chased Me!
‘…our hearts desire is to break chains, and generational and denominational barriers, by ushering in the Presence of the Holy Spirit through worship to touch hearts and truly change lives as only He can. His Presence changes everything…’ The Thomas Sisters have just released their first EP, yet hearing this EP, it feels like I’ve heard them for years…and that is a good thing. For their similarities to artists like BarlowGirl, LoveCollide and The Sonflowerz will be a great asset for the duo, as they continue to venture into indie worship. Will they be signed in the future? Maybe, maybe not. But regardless, this is a group to certainly be on the lookout for. Hopeful and humble, encouraging and energetic, the sisters have carved 6 songs full of meaning and purpose, as Love Chased Me continues to soar into some of my favourite EP’s of 2016 thus far. Well done for such an impacting EP, can’t wait to the full length album whenever it comes.
3 songs to listen to: I See You, Love Chased Me, For The King
RIYL: The Sonflowerz, LoveCollide, Avalon, BarlowGirl, Lara Landon