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JFH Indie Review

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Exile & Eden

Exile & Eden
Love and Loss

Street Date: November 25, 2022
Style: Alternative / Indie Rock
Official Site: Twitter
Buy It: AmazonMP3

Exile & Eden is the one-man project from singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ben Beaghan. With tragedy seemingly set on all sides, Beaghan went to the Lord for peace and comfort. The result was a handful of songs that make up his debut album, Love and Loss.

The album has the sound and feel of a '90s alternative rock album, even down to some of the production. With a healthy blend of acoustic and electric guitars, the album is occasionally reminiscent of older Jars of Clay or Caedmon's Call, minus the upbeat tunes, as most of Love and Loss is composed of slower, contemplative songs. Of course, tracks like "Silhouette" and "You Are" are more electric guitar-centric and amp up the album to some degree (and the closer almost reminds me a Third Day power ballad). But most of the album (such as "Coming Home" through "Lift Your Sail") is slower, more acoustic/piano-based, and more somber, reflecting the darker places out of which they were written. But, that being said, it's a nice change of pace to hear that, rather than indulge in what feels like defeat, Exile & Eden is all about God's goodness and mercy through all of it.

Now, not all of the songs are bubbling with optimism; "Naked Evergreen," for instance, sounds more like a Psalm of King David than a hopeful CCM ditty ("The world's a broken dream of all these almosts and in-betweens / half my days are filled with nights, half my life is filled with fights / every love is filled with grief, every joy is incomplete / tell me when will these dry bones finally arrive at home?"). Lyrics like these are common throughout the album, with Beaghan acknowledging his grief while also looking forward to the hope of Christ. And the album's final track, which is also called "Exile & Eden," brings it to a close while singing from the Lord's perspective, reminding us of the promise that He'll fulfill all of our needs and satisfy our souls ("Don't fear son, I am with You till the end, Kingdom come / you're grieving and suffering, weak / come to My feet, find your home / drink deeply and satisfy your soul in what I behold / your faith made sight in what I behold"). It's a longer song, but it wraps up the album nicely with encouraging lyrics and some of the best songwriting and musicianship you can find here.

The only real negative thoughts I have toward the album all stem from the simple fact that this is not only a debut, but Beaghan's first go at writing and recording music altogether. Sure, the vocals aren't always the prettiest and the songs don't take too many artistic chances - you're not likely to hear any of this on Christian radio, either - but the artist is clearly competent at everything he does here.

Love and Loss sounds good and the songs are not only well-written, but dripping with honesty, integrity, and joy in the face of adversity. If you need some encouragement that the Lord can and will bring you through your trials, Exile & Eden has just the songs for you.

- Review date: 9/20/23, written by Scott Fryberger of

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. Record Label: 8th Day Records
. Album length: 10 tracks: 42 minutes, 54 seconds
. Street Date: November 25, 2022
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. Lead Me (3:48)
  2. Silhouettes (2:25)
  3. Coming Home (3:14)
  4. Evidence of Love (3:24)
  5. Naked Evergreen (3:16)
  6. When I'm Afraid (Psalm 56) (3:29)
  7. Take Heart (4:30)
  8. Lift Your Sail (5:17)
  9. You Are (5:01)
  10. Exile and Eden (8:30)





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