Just over a year old, Seeker & Servant are mere babies to the worship music scene – a genre often dominated by huge corporate bands and singers – yet these three guys from Jackson, Mississippi are singing loud enough for many of us to notice. Recently undergoing a slight transformation in their sound due to the addition of Kody Gautier to the band earlier in 2013, this album seeks to combine their folk beginnings with electronic ambience.
Opening the album with a cover of ‘How Deep The Father’s Love For Us’ instantly brings to mind other contemporary worship groups, specifically ‘Pacific Gold’ (previously known as ‘Wayfarer’), though it doesn’t take long for Seeker & Servant to leave their own mark on this well known hymn. The arrangement works great, and the addition of a chorus/bridge – “I was a wretch/and then you saved me (repeat)/then you set me free” – helps to break up the repetitiveness of the track, however the slight change in melody & pace at the end of most lines feels uncomfortable, but perhaps that’s because they are altering a traditional tune.
It’s the next few tracks though that Seeker & Servant really start to come into their own, brilliantly showcasing their majestic sound on ‘Let Me Not’. Starting as a quiet, acoustic track with repeated meditative lyrics, this song plays like a powerful and intimate prayer. As the melody builds, the song is split up beautifully with a break down that ushers in a gentle whistle, repeated all through the building orchestral crescendo that climaxes with a short-lived but triumphant chant. Though the structure is much more progressive than the rest of the album, the band have stumbled on to a beautiful sound, less congregational and more responsive/personal worship, it’s a style of Christian music that rarely goes mainstream yet when done well we hear incredible pieces of music like Hillsong United’s ‘Oceans’ or (closer to Seeker & Servant’s sound) Bethel’s ‘Give Me Jesus’.
It’s clear throughout the album that Seeker & Servant have fully adopted this new ambient electronica sound, and this elegantly shines through on the instrumental interlude ‘Meditate (Psalm 1)’, although just as the synths begin to take over and the electronic orchestra starts to grow, it swiftly comes to an abrupt end all too soon gently hinting that there was something more to hear but never quite delivering it. This is somewhat of a theme throughout the album, that despite their sound being big and ambient it often stays in the background.
However, on the occasions where that awesome, powerful music is brought into the spotlight it shines brilliantly. Ironically, the only time the album fully delivers that ‘something more’ is at the climax of the last track ‘Into Your Love, I Go’. Lyrically the song speaks of entering God’s grace and being covered by love, and when the title line “Into the streams of your love, I go” meets the jubilant fanfare midway through the track, images of entering the Kingdom and meeting God face to face quickly come to mind. Ending with shouts of praise from not just the vocals but the instruments as well, the album finishes spectacularly.
Though the current worship scene is no stranger to electronic music (with many big names following the lead of indie artists) as Seeker & Servant join the pack they have managed to carve out their own path without stepping on any other artists’ toes. For such a young group, Seeker & Servant have produced a brilliant debut record, and although the album falls short occasionally, it still provides the listener with a unique worship experience.
Album Highlights: ‘Let Me Not’, ‘In Awe’, ‘Our Greatest Joy’, ‘Into Your Love, I Go’
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