Prime Cuts: Solid Rock, One, Into Your Arms
When was the last time you heard a worship song that addresses the Holy Trinity? While many worship songs these days thrive on making Jesus the church's uber boyfriend, few are the paeans that address the lofty issues pertinent to our faith; issues that give definition to the core of our Christian beliefs. The City Harmonic's "One," a ballad lifted off their latest Integrity Music release "We Are," is one of those exceptions. Featuring some delightful tingling of the piano ivories, "One" is a carefully crafted song of worship to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Rather than being caught up in the abstract, this Canadian worship team also make connections of how the unity within the Godhead ought to inspire unity amongst members of God's children. Not only does the City Harmonic offer erudite theology via "One," but they also make God's truth palatable over a tune that lingers even after the music stops.
"One" is not only the only song here that speaks of unity. Rather, such a theme runs across the album with the lead single and album opener "We Are One" being a prime example. Drawing inspiration from the book of Ephesians, "We Are One" speaks of the mind blowing entailments of how the Cross of Jesus draws us all unto God with the same heartbeat and passion for the Savior we love. Such a focus has always been at the cynosure of the City Harmonic. Born out of a church unity movement in the blue-collar steel town of Hamilton, Ontario, The City Harmonic formed in 2009 after leading worship for inter-denominational student events. By 2011, the band had won its first Gospel Music Canada Covenant Awards, including one for Modern Worship Song of the Year for the anthem "Manifesto."
Over the few years, City Harmonic have made power anthems their patented sound. And with this album, "Maranatha" is consummate City Harmonic. Featuring a lumberjack tumble of the sounds of the electronic drums over a fully accompanied choir sound, the cry for our Lord's return has never been more full and heightened. "Solid Rock" likewise opts for the maximalist approach with lots of "o-ooohs" and roaring percussion. Eschewing the tendency of many worship songs to over-do its repeats, "Solid Rock" (which clocks in at less than 3 minutes) is impactful and pleonastic. Though "In Your Arms" dips a little lyrically in terms of depths and the dearth of much well-thought out imagery, it's more of those soaring ballads the guys have always excelled in.
Yet not all is perfect. Tracks such as "Oh What Love," "Still and Small" and "Confession (Agnus Dei)" are more on the non-descript side. There's nothing ropey about these songs; it's just that they blend in to much with the countless rock-pop centered worship songs out there without having something to shout about. "We Are" is by no means City Harmonic's best record, but it still is testimonial to the fact that these guys are not afraid to engage in issues central to our faith and making them singable for all of us.