Prime Cuts: The Great Migration, Bigger than I Thought, Step into the Light
Overall Grade: 2.75/5
You can't judge a record by its cover. Such an adage can't be truer than with Sean Curran's solo EP "Bigger than I Thought." With his hippie long haired look staring at us, the cover reminds us of those nifty 70s rock vinyl. Giving us a hiatus from those dark theatre-like church interior where you have model-like singers raising their hands in their perfect hairdos, here we have Curran standing behind a country-like church with its weathered-worn wooden white panels. With such a cool retro looking cover, one expects Curran's record to deviate from the slick and polished pop template of most worship albums. Unfortunately, the album cover is the best thing about this album. As soon as the first song rolls around, we are back into those paint-by-numbers loud synth and guitar driven stadium-filling worship songs. Though the EP is not without its merits, sound wise the disc is disappointing.
Curran is by no means a new kid on the block. Prior to his work with Passion Worship, Curran was the lead singer of christian rock group Bellarive. Together, Bellarive has released two albums and one EP with their best work being their sophomore full-length album "Before There Was," where their song "Lazarus" is one of the most underrated gems of all time. After the band disbanded, Curran has been associated with Passion worship, where he has fronted and co-wrote some of the collective's best known worship songs including "Glorious Day," "Worthy of Your Name" and "Welcome to the Healer."
"Bigger Than I Thought" is Curran's solo debut EP. Though the record bears his name, the songs could easily belong to a Passion album. With searing guitars, menacing synths, and the slow build-up to their crashing crescendos, the first three tracks ("Can't Live Without You," "Live Again" and "All Praise") are what you would expect from most worship albums. Lyrically, they are quite nondescript with the standard rhetoric of a sanctified love song, case in point being: I can't live without You/The closer I get, the closer I want to be.
The second half of the EP fares better. With its intriguing titular, "The Great Migration" shows more originality and more food-for-thought. The song is a creative exposition of the doctrine of election detailing how God indomitably draws those he elects to him with his irresistible grace. Meanwhile, the piano-led title cut "Bigger than I Thought" is a thoughtful prayer of surrender to God's sovereignty that is heartfelt. The EP's closer "Step into the Light" -- a live recording from this year's Passion's conference -- is a clarion call to step out in faith into God's purposes. The song brims with a prophetic nuance that is both haunting and compelling.
"Bigger Than I Thought," on the whole, is not without its merits. In fact, the latter of the record is pretty good. However, the approach of the entire EP is merely a continuation of what you would expect from a Passion Worship album. This is by no means ropey; it's just that it's predictable and doesn't do the cool retro cover justice.