When it comes to Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) my typical response is cringe and run for it. Not so with Garage Hymnals latest instalment. Their self titled album is a fantastic testimony to well thought out Christ focused music. In fact it would be an insult to throw it into the CCM genre. It is holy, and by that I mean set apart.
On Saturday Garage Hymnal launched their album at Chpter House behind the cathedral to a sell out crowd of about 650. Their live performance combined God glorifying performance mixed with well led congregational singing. Last night I was speaking with Andy Judd (pianist) over dinner about the balance that they seek and it was great to hear his thoughts on the nature of performance within the context of singing songs to and about Jesus. His comment that despite the fact that the album launch gave them additional licence to perform, that did not detract from their desire to glorfy God and not themselves as they did so.
As a band they have evolved from a co-oprative of various artist, to a defined band. This move is a positve move and is evident in the album. The general unity of the album is stranger than in the past. There is a distinct style and although I enjoyed the male vocals of previous albums, both Alanna and Steph deliver the goods. Their singing has matured and watching them live was a delight as they complimented each other. Both have a relaxed but classy stage presence that adds to the overall energy of the band.
Yet again they have redone some old hymns and these are great tracks (‘Beneath the Cross’ and ‘Fathers World’). The two strongest songs for adaption to congregation settings are the the energetic and fun ‘The Light Has Found Us’ along with the more reflective and proclimational ‘Halllujah’. My personal favourit of the album is ‘I Am’. The song builds as it progresses and climaxes in the bridge as Alanna and Steph overlap each other beautifully. As a bass player I also enjoy ‘Child’s Play’ as the bass drives the song along.
Garage Hymanl have yet again given us quality music deviod of the shallow and often corny lyrics and music arrangements overcrowded with extended synth organ or simple 3 chord accoustic formulas. I am thankful for their contribution to the Christian music scene in Australia and look forward to seeing them continue to glorify our Lord and Saviour in all that they do.