Fast becoming a significant name in worship music, Citizens are back with more music, and following in the footsteps of fellow Mars Hill group King’s Kaleidoscope, this time it’s in the form of Christmas carols! On this track, the indie rock group have added their modern flair to the classic carol ‘Joy To The World‘ which opens their Christmas EP “Repeat The Sounding Joy“.
Lyrics: Joy to the World , the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders, of His love.
Glory to God in the highest! Let heaven and nature sing! Glory to God in the highest! Repeat the sounding joy! Glory to God in the highest! Repeat the sounding joy! Glory to God in the highest!
On this live recording, King’s Kaleidoscope add their modern flair to the 1863 hymn ‘Before The Throne of God Above’. Keeping the original melody, the 10-piece band switch the chords up, even throwing in a few extra minor chords towards the end to create a bridge before the final chorus. Currently the band is in the studio working on their first full length album, but whilst we wait for a release date, check out their other live recordings and three EPs.
It’s no great secret that I have a soft spot for Mars Hill Music, so naturally I was rather excited when Ghost Ship announced that they would be releasing their first full length album, titled ‘The Good King’. Different in sound to the many other Mars Hill bands, Ghost Ship bring their own blend of alternative rock to the mix. However, at times it seems that they are still somewhat unsure of where they want to be musically placed, leading to a slightly disjointed first listening experience.
The album kicks off with the pop infused track ‘Mediator’, written as a sequel to their song ‘One God’ (From their EP, A River With No End). As we’ve come to expect from Mars Hill, the theology in the song is spot on, diving in to deep biblical truths so often missed in a lot of popular romanticist worship music of today and to call it catchy just doesn’t quite do it justice.
It’s after this opening track though where I feel that Ghost Ship really come in to their own, leaping from one huge song to the next. This starts with ‘Orion’ which musically wouldn’t feel out of place on a Kings of Leon album. Lyrically, this song also sets the tone for the majority of the album by questioning pain, suffering and doubt but ultimately knowing that God has answered our call and holds us close throughout. It’s this attitude of worshipping through the trials shown in the lyrics of this album that makes it a real challenge and encouragement to the church, and it’s a welcome change to worship music in my opinion.
Moving on to the third track and another personal favourite is the epic rock song ‘Lion Man’ which a friend rightly pointed out sounds ironically like Black Sabbath. This focuses on the power of God, and how when Jesus walked among us “He could have killed us where we stood” yet in humility and out of love He instead came to serve us and bear the wrath that we deserved. Epic indeed!
It seems that the frontman Cam Huxton’s talents in songwriting lie in theologically rich depictions of what it actually means to live a worshipful life rather than just singing worshipfully. If the overall album feels like the band wrestling to discover their true sound, it seems that they are most comfortable in the less orthodox worship songs like ‘Son Of David’, ‘Orion’, ‘Lamb Of God’ and the most beautiful ‘Where Were You’.
In fact it seems rather fitting to use the word unorthodox when describing Ghost Ship – it’s on the more experimental tracks where they seem to find their true style. For example the booming organs at the end of their rendition of the hymn ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ would be completely out of place with any other worship band, yet seems perfectly natural on this album. This then leads to the indie-pop songs like ‘The Gospel’, ‘Mediator’ and the cover of ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus’ (though as great as they are) seem slightly unnatural to Ghost Ship’s style, and sounds more like the type of worship I would expect to hear from another Mars Hill band such as The Sing Team.
It took multiple listens for me to fully appreciate the excellent offering that Ghost Ship deliver with ‘The Good King’, but even now that I’m there I still feel that the best is yet to come from this relatively young worship band. Despite saying that though this is still a brilliant debut, and though ‘The Good King’ may be a slow grower, I truly believe that over the next few months it will gradually emerge as one of the most exciting worship releases of this year.
Album Highlights: Orion, Lion Man, Son Of David, Where Were You
This song is taken from The Sing Team’s 2012 release Oh! Great Is Our God EP. As referenced in the song title the lyrics of this tune were inspired by the words of Psalm 42, all about our soul longing for more of God, of which we often are most aware of during the times we feel far from God. A truly beautiful song flooded with God’s word that speaks so directly to us.
“Why are you downcast, oh my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?”
Citizens are a worship band from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. This song, Made Alive is taken from their forthcoming self-titled album, which will be released on March the 12th. Mars Hill Music have shared this song from the new album ‘Citizens’ along with the news that they are partnering with Tooth and Nail Records / BEC Recordings.
Made Alive sees Citizens go down a slightly more ‘pop rock’ path than their 2012 release Already / Not Yet, with a nice loud synth/keyboard intro + chorus. It still has all the other elements that I’d expect of Citizens though – the shout out loud chorus is still there backed by the joyous gang vocals (which I secretly wish I could have been a part of). A brilliant release from one of my favourite worship bands, and I’m certain that by the end of the weekend you’ll be dancing around the room with this song on repeat, just as I too plan to start doing right now.
All rights belong to Citizens.
(Verse 1) I once was dead in sin
Alone and hopeless,
A child of wrath I walked
Condemned in darkness,
But Your mercy brought new life
And in Your love and kindness,
Raised me up with Christ
And made me righteous.
You have bought me back
With the riches of,
Your amazing grace
And relentless love.
I’m made alive forever,
With You, life forever
By Your grace I’m saved,
By Your grace I’m saved.
Lord, You are the light,
That broke the darkness.
You satisfy my soul,
When I am heartless.
If ever I forget
My true identity,
Show me who I am,
And help me to believe.
My sin has been erased,
I’ll never be the same.
My sin has been erased,
I’ll never be the same.
This song is taken from King’s Kaleidoscope Christmas EP, Joy Has Dawned, released today (27th November 2012) King’s Kaleidoscope are signed to the Mars Hill Music Label and are a worship band at one of the many Mars Hill churches in America.
Since I heard that King’s Kaleidoscope were working on a Christmas EP, I have been counting down the days for this release in pure childlike excitement. This is a cover of the classic Christmas Carol/Hymn O Come All Ye Faithful, and again, the horns and strings section of King’s Kaleidoscope do a fantastic job of adding atmosphere to the song, and in the case of this carol they add a real festive sound too. It’s also great to see that bands are still able to produce that Christmas sounding vibe without just adding quiet jingle bells in the background! The other highlights on this EP for me is the rendition of O Holy Night, and the modern hymn All Glory Be To Christ, written by fellow Mars Hill Worship leader Dustin Kensrue (Lead singer of Thrice & The Modern Post).
This is a live cover of Joe Day’s song A Prayer Of Worship, performed by The Sing Team. Joe Day & The Sing Team both lead worship at various Mars Hill Churches in the US, and this was recorded as they lead worship. The style of this song is just so interesting and different to most worship music around at the moment and the lyrics are so beautifully simple yet original. The Sing Team’s cover of this is available for free but I also recommend checking out the original version by Joe Day.
All rights belong to The Sing Team.
!Brand New Release! from worship band Kin, this song All My Tears is taken from their debut self-titled EP containing this cover along with two others. All My Tears was originally written by Julie Miller, and has been brilliantly covered by the 6 member band Kin. Kin are another worship band from Mars Hill Music, a record label that just keeps pushing out new, exciting releases. I look forward to seeing more music from Kin and see how they progress as a band, but for now I’m loving this cover and the sweet sounding guitar that pierces the heavy drum beat. Awesome stuff.
Citizens, another brilliant worship band from Mars Hill in Seattle. This song, Oh God, was written one night when lead singer Zach Bolen was led by the Holy Spirit to open up to the end of Romans Chapter 8 – “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
That’s where the inspiration for this song came from and it’s easy to notice the influence in the lyrics. This song is so raw with emotion and the recording really captures the intimacy between God and the lyricist.