In 2008, Josh Wilson made his debut with Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup, a mix of catchy pop tunes, thoughtful lyrics, and a dose of humor and charming personality. Whether pondering the difficulty of fitting God into a "3 Minute Song," penning a love/hate letter to his bank account with "Dear Money," or crying out for daily salvation in "Savior, Please," Josh proved to be a versatile songwriter and rising star in Christian music. A year has gone by, and though it's not quite a sophomore release, Josh is back with a seven song EP, Life is Not a Snapshot.
This new collection covers the songwriter-driven, studio produced pop rock territory established with Trying to Fit. The first track, "Sing," a re-worked new version of last year's Christmas single, leads the EP off with a bright, poppy melody and an instantly singable chorus. It may sound familiar to fans, but the new version is a great start to the EP and takes the song from Christmas tune to year-round worship. "Before the Morning" follows, a song of hope written as a personal note of encouragement to some friends, with a big sound and personal yet universal message that is reminiscent of "Savior, Please."
"How to Fall" is an adorable song about finding love for the first time, and it's hard to miss the joy in the newly-wed singer's voice. Contrast that with the introspective "Right in Front of Me," which expresses the struggle to accept doubt and faith together. Josh is at his best creating thought-provoking, personal "snapshots" of life, though I admit, I caught myself missing some of the clever humor from earlier works like "3 Minute Song" and "Dear Money."
He's described himself as a "lyrics guy," but oddly enough, one of the best moments of this EP doesn't have lyrics at all. The final track, "Amazing Grace," is an instrumental take on the classic hymn built with recorded loops from a single acoustic guitar. Even more impressive, Josh often plays this at his live shows, and the effect sounds more like a multiple-musician jam session than one guy with a guitar. The performance has to be seen live to be fully appreciated (or you can look it up on YouTube right now and see for yourself), but it's nice to finally have this concert staple on an album.
Life is Not a Snapshot is a satisfying interlude for fans and a good, affordable introduction for those discovering him for the first time. The opportunity to finally have "Amazing Grace" definitely makes this release worth picking up. In the future, I'd love to hear more of this musical skill and refreshing sound put to use. He has talent in both the music and the songwriting for sure, and a more organic sound might complement his thoughtful lyrics even better. Still, it's a good collection of songs that has me looking forward his next release. In the meantime, check out this EP to get to know this talented new artist.- Review date: 9/6/09, written by Jen Rose of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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