Prime Cuts: You Know Me, Threads, The Little That I Know
Overall Grade: 3.5/5
David Leonard, most recently one half of the now dysfunctional All Sons and Daughters, has channelled some of his nu-folk sensibilities to his first solo Integrity Music release, "The Wait." However, this album isn't a direct Xerox copy of the music of his former duo. Rather, Leonard has added to his former template a metallic and experimental sheen giving his nu-folk sound a more contemporary feel that ought to win fans of today's music. Produced by the Creak Music, which comprises of Leonard, Brad King & Seth Talley, the sound here is cutting edge. Without being domesticated by sonic boundaries, here you will find gaudy sci-fi atmospherics conversing with drama driven EDM rubble and folky piano balladry. In short, if you are into music that is refreshing, contemporary and even experimental, this album wouldn't disappoint.
Though All Sons and Daughters are known for their congregational tunes such as "Great Are You lord" and "All the Poor and Powerless," this album is decidedly more personal. Many of the songs thus canvas more around Leonard's own personal journey rather than tunes written for mass singing. "By My Side" is a slice of autobiography as Leonard journeys with us through his pain, depression and loneliness. More diary-like frankness appear on the poetic "Signs of Life." Who would not be touched by lines such as: Somewhere in the cycle in the circle of flames/You were the water drowning the lies I couldn't name?
Though enveloped in a layer of electronica, "The Wanderer" is the heartbeat of the record. A modern day pilgrim's progress, the song speaks of Leonard's return to God after a bout in depression and waywardness. An interesting listen is "Share this Burden:" with its gaudy sci-fi atmospherics, this sounds like the soundtrack to one of Tom Cruise's "Mission Impossible" movies. However, like many "experimental" music, many of the songs don't have the singalong propensity as say "Great Are You, Lord" or "This is My inheritance." Thus, many of the melodies are quite elusive and difficult to grasp.
As far as songs with an easier grasp, the album's final three entries are the best. The big ballad "You Know Me" is the closest you would find to a congregational worship number. "Threads," the current radio single, has a cool Bob Dylan esque chorus that is quite captivating. While the record closes with the heart-rendering frill-less piano-driven "This Little I Know" -an honest song of surrender to the sovereignty of God adorned with lots of plaintive honesty. This album, in short, isn't your typical worship record. Rather, it's thoughtful, different, but at times also far too experimental. Nevertheless, if you are not a faint of heart, give this album a spin.