There is a certain kind of mythos that surrounds David Crowder, lead singer of the late David Crowder*Band. His music is considered methodical, philosophical, theological and many other "icals." For many DC*B fans, it felt like a funeral when the band brought their story to an end. However, it was a short intermission of sorts and Crowder has risen up from the ashes with his latest release, Neon Steeple.
The album opens with the short but effective "Neon Intro." It sets the stage for what feels like a melancholic reflection but is picked up with folk-electronica "My Beloved." Those who have come to love Crowder's knack for mixing genres will most definitely also love "Hands of Love," "Ain't No Grave," and "You Are." It will move listeners to want to do the boom-chuck-boom-chuck with glow sticks.
Fans may be familiar already with his previously released singles "This I Know" and "I Am." The former is fantastic and easily accepted while the latter took a few listens to truly sink in - and for a complex reason. On DCB's 2009 release, Church Music, Crowder made mention of the double meaning and word play in the song "Can I Lie Here" (follow this link to know what I'm talking about.) With the possible double-meaning of referencing God as "I Am," it gives even more depth to the lyrics, "I am, holding on to You. I am, holding on to You. In the middle of the storm I am holding on, I am." This is hypothetical of course, but knowing the quirkiness and complexity of David Crowder art makes all hypothetic thoughts and theories most welcome.
Without hesitation, "Come As You Are" may be one of the greatest songs the artist has produced to date. It is a clear call to the sinner in all of us to come as we are to stand before God as Crowder sings, "So lay down your burdens, lay down your shame… O wanderer you're not too far." Vocally, it seems as if he not only is exhorting the listener but to himself as well - preaching the gospel to others and to himself. It is simply one of his greatest compositions and is one of the clearest representations of the grace of Christ.
For fans that were looking forward to more folk/bluegrass/acoustic recordings, you will have your fill with "Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)," "Jesus Is Calling," and "My Sweet Lord." They are all musically entrancing and fresh to their very core.
The album closes with the "Steeple Outro" and it brings a solid end to the album with a content and resolved sound. It most definitely feels like the listener traveled the life of a sinner who has been saved and redeemed - from neon to steeple. Those who like creativity should take special note of the thought that was put into the intro and outro - it's so simple yet so refined.
There are many that might assume that this is another "worship" album from the legendary artist, but that's simply not the case. That is not to say that it doesn't have a feeling of sacredness. Overall, the album is more like an in-depth look at the soul - the humanity, the redemption and the regenerated. Don't fret, worship leaders; you may have a few songs that can be tightly squeezed into a creative worship set - but if the goal is just to find a new song to sing, you might miss the point of this very artful work. Without a doubt, Crowder has returned to the forefront of the music scene with songs of hope, grace, and a whole lot of transparency. David Crowder, it's good to have you back… and with much respect, better than ever.- Review date: 5/25/14, written by Ryan Barbee of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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