+ Jesusfreakhideout.com: Psallos, "A Sure Hope: Hymns of Romans" Review
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Psallos

Psallos
A Sure Hope: Hymns of Romans

Street Date: January 25, 2024
Style: CCM / Pop / Worship
Official Site: Official Website
Buy It: iTunes
Buy It: AmazonMP3



I came across Psallos in 2019 when they released their phenomenal album, Jude. I was taken aback by the ingenuity and brilliant musicianship of the project and couldn't get enough of it. It turned out that I was in luck, too, as this was their third album in a series of setting the New Testament epistles to music (preceded by Hebrews and Romans). Helmed by composer Cody Curtis, Psallos aims to set all twenty-one epistles to music, with four under their belts as of the time of writing this. Their next stop, however, is actually something a little different: a congregational worship album.

Psallos' usual output is the epitome of a concept album and involves fine-tuned orchestral moments and big, sweeping arrangements in a multitude of genres. The four albums so far contain a capella, pop rock, jazz, symphony, acoustic, marches, classical, country and bluegrass, hip hop (with some help from Shai Linne), and even a sea shanty. It's not for everyone, but it's faithful to the text and honors God through creativity and artistry. A Sure Hope: Hymns of Romans is just as faithful and worshipful, but drops the grandioseness in favor of being a lot more accessible in an effort to give church congregations new songs to sing. That being said, Psallos still refuses to stick to one genre for a whole album, which is really great, as the album still has some character and never feels repetitive like you might have expected from seeing the words "congregational worship album." However, at the risk of sounding redundant, it is more aimed toward being palatable to the average listener, so it could possibly be a tougher sell for those more accustomed to their normal output. But as one of those people, I've found a lot to enjoy here, from the orchestral, piano-based tunes to the pop rock rhythms of "He Came To Die," all the way to the group of folk and bluegrass tracks (particularly the banjo-led "Take My Life"). "O Christ, What Burdens" is another upbeat, pleasant song that reminds me a lot of Rend Collective and The Oh Hellos, and would certainly be a great song for Christian radio.

Though the concept of the album is different for Psallos, what hasn't changed is the rock solid theology. Two of the songs are Cody Curtis originals, those being "I Am Not Ashamed" and "He Came To Die." Both songs originally appear on the Romans concept album, but they show up here with a new arrangement and recording. The latter of the two also works to evangelize, laying out the Gospel in just a few lines ("He came to die: God, in the form of Christ / as a sacrifice to appease God's wrath and make us right / so the Judge can freely justify and be just / He died for us: men, in the depth of sin / where the law condemned, it was God who called us to repent / and by faith receive the righteousness of the Lamb / hallelujah, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ"). The remaining seven songs are older hymns performed either as they were written or with some modern touches by Curtis. Some of the lyrics were written as early as the late 1400s to early 1500s by men and women led by the Spirit of God. Among these lyricists are Anne Cousin, who penned "O Christ, What Burdens," and John Berridge, writer of "O Lord, With Shame." My personal favorites are the final two tracks, both by Frances Havergal. Regular vocalist Kelsie Edgren lends her wonderful voice to "Take My Life," and Curtis leads the listener to the end of the album in the exceptional "Light After Darkness," which serves as a reminder of the joy to come after the toils of life have ended ("Sheaves after sowing, sun after rain / sight after mystery, peace after pain / joy after sorrow, calm after blast / rest after weariness, sweet rest at last").

I have to admit, I was a little unsure when I heard the announcement that the epistles albums were being set aside for a different series of albums, especially for some worship albums. But one listen to A Sure Hope left me and my spirit satisfied. It's a refreshing, worshipful, and well-written album that is definitely more accessible to the average listener. If you're looking for some worship music that mixes it up stylistically but is theologically sound, then I'd wager that Psallos is what you're after. - Review date: 2/8/24, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com




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JFH Indie Spotlight Review . Record Label: None
. Album length: 9 tracks: 35 minutes, 41 seconds
. Street Date: January 25, 2024
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3
. Buy It: Official Site

  1. I Am Not Ashamed (2:18)
  2. O Lord, With Shame (4:16)
  3. He Came To Die (3:12)
  4. Our Nature Fell (3:46)
  5. O Christ, What Burdens (3:58)
  6. Who Shall Condemn (4:37)
  7. Wait, O My Soul (5:02)
  8. Take My Life (4:20)
  9. Light After Darkness (4:07)

 

 

 

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