Release Date: November 20th 2015
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- This Is My Wish
- Jesus Oh What A Wonderful Child
- Christmas Time Is Here
If you haven’t jumped onto The Walls Group bandwagon, it’s a fact that you are definitely missing out, and that you should jump onto the bandwagon now or soonish. Vocal groups dominated the CCM industry for a while in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, with Avalon, Point of Grace, Out Of Eden, The Katinas and Zoegirl all playing their part in delivering heartfelt and inspiring worship ballads with strong voices and a big orchestral and/or movie soundtrack sound. Now as each of the aforementioned groups are either on an extended break, or have disbanded, or have moved into a different genre, should it be the time for us to lament? No, never, as The Walls Group is here!
A band of siblings residing in Texas, Darrell, Rhea, Paco and Ahjah Walls have gladly and brilliantly taken up the mantle of being practically one of the only CCM vocal groups around today, while also adding their own relevant and refreshing musical flavour to their songs as well, appealing to both this generation and the last. With their debut album Fast Forward dropping in 2014, and inspiring me and garnering praise from listeners and critics, the quartet have recently unveiled their free Christmas EP, titled Sounds Of Christmas. But aren’t there already enough Christmas albums, with MercyMe, Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, Danny Gokey and Laura Story releasing new holiday themed projects as well? Surely The Walls Group knew that the Christmas music market is saturated enough as it is? Well…sure the aforementioned albums are more highly publicised. But that doesn’t mean that The Walls Group’s EP shouldn’t be listened to. In fact, these three songs, albeit the shortness of these melodies, are just as good as any other holiday themed tracks, as we hear a group passionately declare that Jesus is Lord. With endorsement and advocating from popular gospel singer Kirk Franklin, The Walls Group are certainly going to flourish in an industry craving for something new (or some older style melodies), and The Sounds Of Christmas brings back the nostaiga factor to the max! If you’re craving 90’s music and/or Christmas music, then this EP is for you!
Out of the three melodies, 2 are well known melodies, and one is an original, that is probably my favourite original Christmas song since Josh Wilson’s “Jesus Is Alive”. But let’s delve into the more known songs for now, shall we? “Christmas Time Is Here” is a laidback piano prominent ballad, as the quartet majestically sing in harmony about the greatest gift of all this Christmas. Even though the group relay that ‘…Christmas time is here, happiness and cheer, fun for all that children call their favorite time of year…’ and do not explicitly mention Jesus, the fact that they remind us all about the great things about Christmas (ranging from presents, spending time with family) encourage us to look a bit deeper into the meaning of the annual holiday as well. The tempo and enthusiasm jumps up a notch on the next familiar track as the group cover Mariah Carey’s smash hit “Jesus Oh What A Wonderful Child” with zeal and gusto amongst vibrant trumpet and orchestral instruments. Relaying that Jesus is wonderful and also that he is ‘…so lowly, meek, and mild, new life, new hope, new joy He brings, won’t you listen to the angels sing, glory, glory, glory to the new born King…’, we are provided with hope, reassurance and a new sense of meaning and purpose once we all realise how important Jesus is for how we live our life. Though the song could at times sound a bit dragging at a very long close to 6 minutes, there’s no denying the passion of each of the four siblings, as the epic melody culminates in an out of this world explosive orchestral crescendo as well as free flowing spontaneous worship, especially by Paco.
Yet it is the EP opener, “This Is My Wish”, featuring guest vocals from Michea Walls (who isn’t part of the group but maybe could be in the future?) that really sets the group apart from others today vocally. With the melody thematically being about proclaiming that Jesus is Lord this coming Christmas, and hopefully many people coming to Christ, as the group eloquently sing out ‘…fill the earth with joyful noise, ring the bell and raise your voice, let there be peace on Earth, let there be peace on Earth, lift your light, let it shine, shine, shine, shine, let there be peace on Earth, let there be peace on Earth…’, we are motivated to actively do our part this Christmas to make Jesus famous. A song that I’m humming and singing to long after the melody has stopped, The Walls Group have recorded a winner, even if the song can sound a bit cliché.
Just by these three songs alone, we are met with an honest and impacting testimony of a group that provides us a unique look at the infusion of electronic, gospel, soul, pop, praise and CCM. Though I may not have reviewed Fast Forward last year, I am a fan of the band now, as Darrell, Rhea, Ahjah and Paco have each stretched their musical geniuses, vocal and writing prowess to beyond their years. The Walls Group was one of the standout new artists of the year last year, and now in 2015, they are just picking up where they left off! So check out the EP on Amazon mp3, you won’t be disappointed! Besides, it’s free for a limited time- who doesn’t love free music? Well done Darrell, Rhea, Paco and Ahjah for such a poignant holiday EP, and possibly one of my favourite Christmas albums for 2015 so far!
3 songs to listen to: All Of Them
RIYL: Danny Gokey, Moriah Peters, Kirk Franklin, Carman, Avalon