Sparrow Records / Capitol CMG
Release Date: September 16th 2022
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Left It in the Water
- Jesus Does
- God is on the Throne
- Deep End
- Miracle Power
- Life is Good
- Count the Stars (Be There for You)
- If I Gave You My Heart
- The Veil
- Left It In the Water (Radio Edit)
‘…as I look around at all of the worship artists (solo and bands) out there; I’m left wondering. Are we in fact at worship saturation point? Well… quite possibly. It’s the point when a worship artist releases a new song, and then we all shrug our shoulders and go about our business- like we don’t really care anymore whether a worship artist releases something new or not. I know I have felt that many times with Planetshakers… but the point is that there is a time, maybe now or maybe into the future, whereby new bands come and they sing praises to Jesus, and we definitely aren’t as excited anymore. For me, worship saturation may be very applicable to some bands (like the aforementioned Planetshakers as well as Jesus Culture and Bethel Music!), however for this next ‘new’ band recently signed to Capitol Christian Music Group, I’m definitely not at saturation point yet. Because We The Kingdom musically is something different. Similar to I Am They, Zach Williams, Passion, Rend Collective and The Crabb Family all rolled into one; the band comprises of songwriter Ed Cash and his family (brother Scott, children Franni and Martin as well as close friend Andrew Bergthold) and is probably the most energetic band since Rend Collective. I know, I know, it’s a bold statement, but one listen to their debut EP Live At The Wheelhouse EP and one or more watches of any of their live videos on Youtube will quickly change your mind. What will also change your mind is the group’s debut album Holy Water which released in August 2020…’ This above quote was from a review that we did on the site for We the Kingdom’s first album Holy Water that was unveiled in late 2020. The review of the album was undertaken by my brother Josh, and so I myself haven’t been as across this band as I know that I should. Nevertheless, from what I have heard of this group (songs like ‘Holy Water’, ‘Child of Love’, ‘Cages’, ‘God So Loved’, even ‘Peace’, a collab with Bethel Music, and ‘SOS’, a song originally recorded by Brandon Heath in 2015), We the Kingdom are in fact very much enthusiastic and passionate, and ought to be one of the most intriguing and rejuvenating new CCM acts out there, ever since Zach Williams debuted all those years ago. Yes, ever since then!
And so while We the Kingdom will probably never hold a candle to inventive groups like Rend Collective or even Delirious?, their infectious joy and their obvious camaraderie (because they are close friends and family) cannot be ignored. With the band still on their emotional high due to their highly acclaimed success of Holy Water, the band unveiled a 7 track EP titled Live at Ocean Way Nashville in July 2021, recorded at the famous Ocean Way Studios in Nashville (and presented with as much passion and heart as they have done in their studio recordings, too!). The band have been one of the most infectiously joyous and inventive bands I’ve heard of late, and the most unique ‘new’ artist ever since the bursting-onto-the-scene of Zach Williams, all those years ago. The band’s inventiveness and heart are translated well, into their live performances as well as their studio recordings, and when we hear through the band’s live 2021 EP, we can see evidence of this. Taking some of their well-known songs from their debut album (‘Child of Love’, ‘Holy Water’, ‘God So Loved’) and presenting them in a 7-track experience is something that reminds us all, of the power of a live performance, and to bring it one step further, the power of performing at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville. Now fast-forward towards the end of 2022, and the family band have once again delivered something powerful, unique, enjoyable and encouraging- their sophomore album We The Kingdom, inclusive of standout radio single ‘Miracle Power’, alongside other personal favourites like ‘Count the Star (Be There For You)’, ‘Left It In the Water’, ‘Jesus Does’, ‘Family’ and ‘God is On the Throne’, to name a few.
Released as the first pre-release track on the self-titled album, ‘Miracle Power’ was unveiled to us earlier on during the year, and was the first glimpse into We the Kingdom, and a reminder that this group that exploded onto the scene with songs like ‘Child of Love’, ‘Holy Water’ and ‘God So Loved’, still knew how to deliver a powerful song or two- ‘Miracle Power’ itself was reason enough to dispel any rumour that new groups in general suffer a sophomore slump, whether they intend to or not. ‘Miracle Power’ showed us that this widely accepted assumption of new artists just simply wasn’t true, as the song itself was delivered as a rousing declaratory anthem, about us as followers of Jesus, having Christ’s miracle power working through us as a result of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us as the result of us leading a sold-out life for Christ. It’s an understanding, that as we step out in faith in our daily lives, believing that we have the Holy Spirit with us (because of Jesus’s very own promise at the end of Matthew in the gospels), then Christ will most certainly meet us where we are at, and oftentimes, whether we know it or not, we’ll undertake ‘miracle power’ moments where we allow the Lord to use us, sometimes in supernatural ways, so that we can further God’s kingdom and be His hands and feet to the people we meet. As the band themselves relay to us, ‘…as the opening line says, ‘This one’s for the lost and lonely.’ It’s a song for everyone because at the end of the day, we’ve all felt that way at some point in our lives. Miracles have a beautiful way of restoring childlike wonder back into the hearts of all of us. They leave you awestruck in a way nothing else can, and with ‘Miracle Power,’ our hope is that each ear that hears this song will let faith rise up and these lyrics sink in a bit deeper with each listen…’ A song that encourages us to believe that the supernatural (healings, signs & wonders, deliverance, speaking in tongues) still happens today in the 21st century under the guidance and providence of Christ Jesus, as it did way back when He was indeed alive, ‘Miracle Power’ ought to be the encouraging song that it is, when people hear it. I know I am inspired when I hear this rousing emotive declaration. Here’s hoping that other people feel it too.
‘Left It In the Water’ is the other pre-release track unveiled by the band prior to the album unveiling date, and as the album is bookended with two version of ‘Left It In the Water’ (the first track is an album recording, while the album-ender is a radio edit, maybe for the radio), we see how such a song as ‘Left It In the Water’ is a great reminder of how far gone we as Christians are to the people that we were prior to us believing in Christ- that in light of what He has done for us, and us believing into the fact that it is through grace by faith we are saved in Christ Jesus, that what we once were before, is indeed ‘left in the water’ when we accepted Christ as our Lord and Saviour. As we continue to live this life with many trials and temptations, we may have to be ok with ourselves leaving things ‘by the water’, maybe on a long term basis between now and when to go to heaven. Because in all honesty, when you accept Christ as Lord and Saviour, the expectation that life becomes all rosy and that every sin and struggle is left in the water, never to be heard of (or even felt) again, is not the truth, unfortunately. Because more often than not, life is a struggle, and because we live in broken and messed up world, we as Christians may still be dealing with _______ until the day we die. We need to be at peace with ‘going to the water’ in a metaphorical sense, every day of our lives, allowing Christ to work in us as we lay down _____ and become more like Him on a daily basis. But sometimes we may never be free of _____ until we meet Jesus face to face in Heaven. And maybe that’s ok. Such a song as this, may unfortunately depict a scenario where someone accepts Jesus, and starts living the Christian life, and they are automatically cleansed and healed of ______, allowing them to declare that they ‘…left it in the water, my yesterdays are history, left it in the water, I went down dirty but I came up clean…’ And while there may be some cases where people are automatically healed, saved, and delivered of ______ in an instant, for others, it’s a more lifelong and gradual process, as we understand, to give people more grace and understanding. Yes, we may want to leave things in the water permanently, but sometimes, we learn more about ourselves, God, and other people, through the lifelong journey and the constant life experiences we lead. Here’s hoping this song doesn’t paint a false interpretation of how the Christian life should be led. Yes, we all want to be clean, but it is in our state of dirtiness that we may remain humble in our approach to life, and our admission of our constant need of a Saviour.
In spite of this minor hiccup (which is ‘Left it In the Water’), the band still deliver biblical truths and a music atmosphere that is indeed very unique, fresh, different, new, and exciting, as this family band fast becomes one of my favourite new band’s I’ve listened to and heard, since for KING & COUNTRY and Stars Go Dim, back in the day. ‘Mine’, unveiled as track #2, is delivered with an acoustical forefront as the band offer up encouragement and hope in the chorus lyric line of how ‘I’m Yours and You’re mine, til the end of time, sweeter than water, sweeter than wine, feels so good to know that You are mine’, an encouragement that Christ will never let us go or abandon us once we place our faith and trust in Him. Once we acknowledge the redemptive power of the blood of Christ, nothing can take His love away from us. A song that reminds us of Romans 8 where Paul speaks of how nothing can separate us from the love, grace, and mercy of Christ Jesus our Lord; ‘Mine’ is a song that brings this Biblical chapter to life. Though not as musically strong as ‘Left It In the Water’, ‘Mine’ nevertheless allows us to be reflective about our own relationship with Christ- can we truly say that He is ours and we are His, honestly? ‘Jesus Does’, a potential radio-friendly song that could release to CCM radio in the upcoming weeks or even months ahead; follows along for the band, as we are reminded of what Jesus does, that He undertakes these things not because He has to or feels obiligated, but that’s just who He is and what His character is about. It’s a song that really speaks to and champions who Christ is for us, and that His unending and unwavering character is something that we know we can rely and depend upon. Well done We The Kingdom for both ‘Mine’ and ‘Jesus Does’, songs that may not be as ‘flash’ as the band’s first track, but for me, are some of the more hard-hitting songs on this album as a whole.
Throughout the rest of the album, We the Kingdom continue to offer hard-hitting songs of comfort and confrontation, while also delivering melodies of tranquil moments of peace and encouragement. ‘God is On the Throne’ fuses together the elements of gospel, funk, reggae, worship, and R&B as Franni Rae Cash Cain delivers her vocals with such intention and passion. The song itself- speaking about how God is on the throne…period. Regardless of the circumstances we face or the scenarios we find ourselves in, that doesn’t negate the fact that He is always sovereign and always good, even if or when we don’t understand because of what we have experienced in our lives. The song itself feels a little retro- with the choir in the background, ‘God is On the Throne’ could easily feel at home on a 1990s movie (Sister Act or Sister Act 2 for example), and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. ‘Deep End’ follows on from ‘God Is On The Throne’, and delivers a rocking anthem that would’ve fit right at home on a Third Day, Switchfoot or a Kutless album back in the day, as this worship group tries their hand at fusing together rock and worship…and it works, for the most part. Dunno how this song could be translated into a church setting, but from where it stands now, it’s nevertheless a song that I know I can worship to now, even if it cannot be worshipped to, in a corporate setting. ‘Deep End’ encourages Christians to dive into the ‘deep end’, to push themselves and to never settle for taking the easy route in life- for when we dive deep into the unknown, into the places we firmly believe the Lord is telling us to travel into, we will be enriched because of it, even though on face value, it could seem as though we’ve diving into the deep end without any forewarning or knowledge about circumstances. ‘Deep End’ ought to encourage us to boldly take a chance on Christ, and to watch and see what He can do.
With biblical truth and powerful songs throughout the first half of the album, we see strength and encouragement continue to flow through the rest of the track listing on We the Kingdom’s self-titled album, and while the remaining 6 songs aren’t as ‘hard-hitting’ as the band’s first 6, the band still instill in us a sense of rejuvenated worship as this band is still fast becoming one of CCM’s most innovative worship groups, alongside Rend Collective. ‘Tabernacle’ is a rousing declaratory anthem where we see the band proclaim that we as Christians, ought to be the tabernacle of the most High God, meaning, that since the Holy Spirit dwells within us through Christ Jesus, we ought to take seriously, what we listen to, what we watch, just generally how we behave and act and live on a day-to-day basis. ‘Tabernacle’ is a reminder that our bodies are not our own, that who we are, is carved and shaped by God unto His holy and blameless purpose, thus, how we act, think, believe, and behave, ought not to mirror a short-term identity that people so often grasp and clasp onto. ‘Life is Good’ continues to fuse together worship/CCM and rock music, as We The Kingdom deliver something that an artist like Kutless or Third Day would’ve recorded back in the day; with the actual song being about how as we start seeing things from the Lord’s POV, the more that we can powerful, assuredly and confidently declare that life is good (in a generalised sense).
‘If I Gave You My Heart’ brings down the acoustics quite a bit, as the band offer us a reflective ballad about pondering this question- if we give our hearts over to _____ and expose our true intentions and our worst feelings about _____ so that everyone else could see; well, will all the weight that has come with trying to be ‘perfect’, disappear, and will people even ‘like’ what they see? I know, something that ought not to be solved at the moment, but at least this song opens the door for such conversations about these things. ‘The Veil’, second to last song, speaks about the importance of Jesus’s death and resurrection, stating that when the veil was torn (when Jesus cried out ‘it is finished’ on the cross) for me and you, that it was done once and for all. There is nothing else extra that we need to believe into, nor are there any other ‘hidden’ things to accomplish. We just come as we are and allow God to undertake the rest. We believe by grace through faith, and this song can hopefully allow us to be the catalyst to search our own lives too. ‘Family’ comes in at track #12 and speaks to the heart of what it means to be in a family of God- that just like your normal family where you may not necessarily get along with a certain someone for most of the time, we ought to extend that sentiment to the family of God as well- there’ll be people inside the family of God that we may not like, but that doesn’t make them any less of a brother or sister in Christ. We are united because of what we believe into, and maybe it’s ok if family don’t always see eye to eye on things. For if our family does nothing else, but to agree with you; then you’re not growing, and you’re not becoming wise, or formulating your own opinions on _______. ‘Family’ has its robust times, and that is true of Christianity.
The album in then rounded with ‘Count the Stars’, track #9, and my very own favourite song from the album. This simple, keyboard-prominent track is sung from the point of view of Jesus, and We the Kingdom singer-songwriter Franni Rae Cash Cain sings out the poignant chorus, encouraging people who are hurting, to offer up their greviences to God Himself- ‘…tell me what it takes to win your heart, tell me anything that I can do, just look up and count the stars, I will be there for you, even on a thousand sleepless nights when you think you won’t make it through, just look up and count the stars, I will be there, I will be there for you…’ With a similar message to Everfound’s ‘Count the Stars’ (from their 2013 album Everfound); We the Kingdom remind us of how big God is and how small we are in light of what He has made, and that vastness and bigness is a great humbling moment where we acknowledge that He is so big and all knowing, and we’re just not. We don’t have to try to be, and so when we’re told by the Lord in the Bible to not fear, and to trust in Him always, I think we ought to take it, right?
We the Kingdom by We the Kingdom always had this ‘will it slump because of the ‘sophomore slump’ trope’ hanging over it, but as I’ve listened to this album, several times over; I can say that this won’t be the case. This album is new and fresh, revitalising and compelling, and even though ‘Left It In The Water’ leaves a little to be desired thematically, the rest of the album is spot on- themes, message and musicality. An album to be thoroughly enjoyed if you love artists like I Am They, Rend Collective and Jesus Culture, to name a few; We The Kingdom is an album full of tremendous repeat value. Well done Franni and the rest of the band for creating this awe-inspiring and heartfelt album. Looking forward to seeing how the Lord uses this album, in the weeks and months to come.
3 songs to listen to: Count the Stars (Be There For You), God is On the Throne, Jesus Does
RIYL: Jesus Culture, Passion, I Am They, Rend Collective, Crabb Family, Zach Williams