The Brilliance “Brother” Album Review


Prime Cuts: Brother, Love Remains, Dust We Are and Shall Return

"I hope our music doesn't give anyone simple answers or dogmas, but opens their hearts to something more beautiful than they could possibly represent with words." This is the aspiration the Brilliance (comprising of John Arndt & David Gungor) has for their brand new Integrity Music debut "Brother."  And true to their mandate, "Brother" isn't your typical worship album.  This isn't your typical flare of loud arena filling rock music with those recycled platitudes of trite lines and simplistic "I love you Jesus" quips.  Rather, citing J.S. Bach, Philip Glass, Sufjan Stevens, The Beatles, Wilderman, David Bazan, Nick Drake, Paul Simon as influences, "Brother" feels like a conflagration of sounds from variegated eras and genres all colliding together into a brand new cacophony that is pulverizing as well as engaging.  Here you will traces of the liturgical sounds weaved together with threads of Peter Gabriel-esque Brit rock and Rend Collective-esque Celtic folk.

But such an artsy approach to worship music also can be a double edge sword.  For those of us who are used to worship songs being clappy sing-alongs, "Brother" takes some getting used to.  Just like most intricate works of art, the album takes time and repeated listenings for one to get a genuine appreciation of the songs.  That note of caution aside, let's get into the gist of the record.  Entitled "Brother," these 10 tracks revolve around the theme of reconciliation and brotherly (and sisterly) love Christians ought to have for each other.  The title cut "Brother" sets the album's tenure.  Like the opening of a Pandora Box of truth, poignant lines such as "When I look into the face/Of my enemy/I see my brother" have a way of impacting our souls.

Continuing on the theme of reconciliation is "Make Us One."  Featuring an array of cascading percussion beats, "Make Us One" is like a post-modern piece of artwork that seems like it is melodically incoherent.  Yet, with time and meditation, the beauty surfaces.  In our world of violence and political unrest, "Yahweh," with its serpentine melody and its brooding ambiance, functions like a desperate plea for God's intervention just like in the days of the Exodus.  Opening with a litany of echo-y-sounding Celtic chants, "Love Remains" is the album's most melodic piece that speaks of Christ's tenacity even in the midst of our failings. Sounding like a warp back to the Hippie culture, the 60s sounding "Dust We Are and Shall Return" situates our morality in God's sovereignty.

The gratification of listening to an album like "Brother" isn't immediate.  Yet, for those who are willing to wait, ponder, mediate, and enjoy, the rewards are overwhelming.  Here there are truths laden in well-constructed poetry and Scriptural truths waiting to be unearthed by those who care to linger....



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