Prime Cuts: Children of Promise, Better Than Life, Band of Sons
Sporting blood-colored ships heading into the mountainous terrain of the unknown, the cover of Andrew Ehrenzeller's "Children of Promise" impregnates a sermon ready to be delivered. Just as ships are not made to jetty in a safe harbor, these songs propel us to leave our comfort zones to risk our lives for the sake of the Gospel. But yet the impetus of such Godly risk does not emerge out of our self-confidence. Rather, it comes, virtue of the fact that we are bought with the blood of Jesus Christ, hence the blood colored ships. Indeed, Ehrenzeller is a maverick for God. On the same month before this album, Ehrenzeller had to cancel a movie date with his nine-month pregnant wife because he felt sick after a fall on a fishing trip. When he was rushed to the hospital, the CT scan and blood test reveal that he had swelling in the brain and there were two lesions, one that was sizable and virtually untouchable. Life changed after that discovery. Now Ehrenzeller has to live out the songs on this album that speak about gambling our lives for the sake of the Gospel.
Ehrenzeller, for those unacquainted with him, is one of the worship leaders of Jesus Culture. Under the leadership of Skylar Smith and Kim Walker-Smith, Jesus Culture has revolutionized the way we think of Jesus and worship vis-à-vis their numerous musical outputs. Their amped up stadium filled sounds with a supple gloss have a way of making the worship of Jesus relevant, engaging and impacting especially on the younger demographic. Though Ehrenzeller is part of such a culture (pun intended), he is sonically an odd ball. With a modern rock edgy vibe that has critics comparing him to Peter Gabriel and King of Leon, the music of Andrew Ehrenzeller has is more burly and bass heavy than his Jesus Culture peers.
"Children of Promise" finds Ehrenzeller working with acclaimed producer Jeremy Edwardson (Kari Jobe, Michael W. Smith & Jesus Culture). With its snazzy hooks and its warped up electric guitar vibe, the title cut "Band of Sons" is the type of song that is to going to invite heaps of accolades from critics. While the historically tinted title cut "Children of Promise" hints back to the Pilgrim Fathers coming into New England urging us to do likewise in placing our faith in Christ towards the fearful unknown. This is the type of song that is going to be anthemic to us especially when we are facing the unknown future. "Better than Life," finds Ehrenzeller letting loose on what is an infectious worship tune ripe with lots of sing along opportunities.
The stark plucking of the nylon strings accompanying Ehrenzeller's bluesy vocals at the introduction of the Biblical poetic "Farewell Babylon" is haunting. While he returns to some ethereal Kim Walker-styled worship with "Meet You Here." This song is a re-telling of the parable of the prodigal son from Luke 15 told with a weathered John Hiatt-country-blues growl. Never one to be stuck in a rut, "I Will Bless the Lord" synthesizes guitar and bass heavy rock with a fresh dance beat that truly transforms what is otherwise an average sounding worship number. Thus, in short, if you are looking for worship music with a heavier modern rock influence with songs that challenges us to let go of the TV remote and get out of our comfy lounges for the sake of the Gospel, look no farther than Erhenzeller's "Children of Promise."
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