Prime Cuts: Nearness, O Jesus, Lifter of My Head
Instead of gathering up a soiree of sounds with bludgeoning guitars or amped out percussions, Jonas Park and David Bollmann have chosen to take the contemplative route. Instead of creating a din of the biggest sounds and hooks, the songs here go for the theological meat with themes hobbling around Philippians 3:14 where the Apostle Paul admonishes us to press on forward towards Christ as the prize and forgetting what's behind us. "Forward" finds International House of Prayer (IHOPKC) worship leader, Jonas Park partnering with his long-time song writing collaborator, David Bollmann on 6 newly crafted worship songs. Park began serving on worship teams in the IHOPKC prayer room in 2008. Many of his songs have been featured on several Forerunner albums, including "I Am Yours (First Love)," on the recent Onething Live: Sing Your Praises. David Bollmann, on the other hand, is an established songwriter who has written with Timabaland, Keri Hilson, Christian Rich, and J-Cole. He has also written the score for the new indie film, "Her Story."
Stylistically "Forward" contains mostly mid to slower paced worship songs, often availing for us lots of ethereal-styled worship moments; a niche that has earmarked many of Jesus Culture's recent recordings. Album opener "I Remember" has the most accelerated tempo. With a neo-soul Brit dance beat and some cool synth flourishes, "I Remember" celebrates God's faithfulness. The tempo immediately dips with the EP's second cut "Lifter of My Head." Weaving in various threads from the book of Psalms, some 70s style folk and a suave European synth-driven aloofness, "Lifter of My Head" is a song that will certainly turn heads when it comes to fresh worship sounds.
If you are a lover of worship ballads, "O Jesus" is sure to please. Intimate, Christ-centered and so heartfelt, you can't get worship as tender and as holy as this. "Nearness" is to be single out as a textbook example of song writing at its best. The attention paid to details in outlining the specific areas of God's faithfulness instead of just hovering on the generalities shows the maturity and depth of both Park and Bollmann as writers. If there is any criticism, it's that there are far too many ballads. When they follow one after another, the EP seems to flow like one seamless slow song. Let's hope that Park and Bollmann will follow up this EP with a full length album demonstrating a full array of their unique styles and tempos; something they are more than capable of doing.