Charlotte based church band Elevation Worship bring a fresh, new sound to the ever increasing market of worship music. Their 2013 release Nothing Is Wasted coincided with Senior Pastor Steven Furtick’s Greater book, and the tracks were written and recorded with the purpose of fulfilling the message of each chapter. In this, there was a sense that Elevation Worship was intentional: intentional in lyrics, in musicianship, in their willingness to reach people and in making their own authentic mark on the world. After releasing Only King Forever earlier this year, they are back with their new live recording Wake Up The Wonder, and we are assured of this intention as we meet a band steadfast in their biblical grounding and their commitment to worshiping God in strength and truth.
In “Already Won” we are presented with a heavier, more synth style of worship. The quality of the male lead vocals is excellent, lifting your spirit as the music crescendos. With a dance/electro vibe this track is on point as an opener, and there is an alternative sound which distinguishes Elevation Worship from other worship bands. Going into “Unstoppable God,” the party bus keeps rolling, but is balanced with lyrics based in the biblical story of creation. With a rock sound and an epic guitar line in verse 2, this caries the tones of a studio band but still translates well into corporate worship.
The intensity remains with “Jesus I Come,” but is softer with a piano driven melody. The soaring vocals will engage you as they speak of the character of Christ and our desperate need for him. With a stunning bridge, this song is a standout. “Ever Glorious” is beautiful; the use of piano and strings gives it a holy and organic feel, yet the decision to sporadically use varying instruments in this highlights the band’s commitment to re-inventing and creating a new sound in worship. In the same way there is an eeriness and melancholy to “Jesus Forever” which makes it unique. The heavy guitar driven melody makes the lyrics, “Glory and honour and power and strength, to the one who is seated forever to reign,” all the more poignant.
The opening of “Your Promises” is understated, yet there is a sense of urgency that builds through the use of an unusual guitar line. Credit has to be given to the team for their boldness to step out and experiment in their musicality; a style which evidently works as this song brings out a conviction within the listener about God’s unfailing provision. “The King Is Among Us” continues in this experimental tone, this time with a more ambient vibe. This song is breathtaking due the simplicity of the message which is delivered in an honest and compelling way. Pulling from biblical truths about what God is able to do and then what He requires of His church, you can’t help but think this song is reflective of the global church as whole. Singing, “Consecrate yourselves to me, and you will see amazing things,” we see the band ground themselves in the utter truth of the Word and they urge us to join them in this journey.
The tempo lifts with “Great Things (Worth It All),” and we are given a catchy tune reminiscent in sound of Chris Tomlin. With bold phrases like “Thank you for the wilderness,” this worship song is intriguing and compelling because of the strength found in its message. “Standing” is driven by the electric guitar and is a victory song that will get you up and clapping. Entering into “Let Us Adore” we are nearly given a new version of a Christmas carol, and many of the lyrics used are phrases that pop up over the Christmas season. That being said, they use these phrases so they resonate as truths year round, and the percussion and vocal delivery of this song adds to the quality of the tune so it fits nicely into the album.
A female vocalist leads “I Love You Lord,” and the lightness and sweetness of her voice balances out the extreme heaviness in the bass. While the electric guitar and the bass tones are unusual, the simplicity of the chorus as a declaration of love to Jesus is really well done. While the combination of the instrumentation and vocals may take you by surprise, it is worth sticking with this track as it combines the beauty of corporate worship with an intimate moment with God. “For The Lamb” is a standout on this album. It has a piano based beginning detailing the story of the gospel, then builds to become an expansive anthem. Leaving room for personal worship and reflection towards the end, this song and its delivery will blow you away.
“Fortress” uses synth and guitar to communicate the strength and power of God, before “Look How He Lifted Me” returns to a dance and synthesised sound to round up the album. As with the rest of the songs, this track is unusual as it combines various genres and sounds to create a praise song. The experimentation pays off though, and their decision to uphold the biblical integrity of the lyrics using such phrases as “testimony” rather than watering them down, is enthralling.
Elevation Worship’s new album Wake Up The Wonder is fresh, compelling, curious and riveting. If you want something new, these tunes will spark your heart and lift your spirit. The band’s ability to enfold core biblical truths in their lyrics and still make them relatable- and easy to sing, is quite extraordinary. Make sure you check out Wake Up The Wonder when it comes out on November 25th, because it’s good for the soul.