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Brothers McClurg - Join in the Sound, CD Review

Brothers McClurg - Join in the Sound, CD Review

By Ed Rotheram on July 31, 2012

“The song of heaven” is a recurring theme across Scripture - the allusion to the Lord singing over us in Zephaniah; the angels calling out “Holy, Holy, Holy” in Isaiah 6; and the brand new song sung in front of the saints and elders in Revelation 14. Here, in Brothers McClurg’s first full-length album Join in the Sound, we find an invitation to join that song - to tune our lives into Him and His Spirit.

The album begins on this theme through the instrumental “Tune Up” and straight into the title track - a strong riff-based song with a great driving feel to it. I really like the layered texture of this song - there’s lots going on with intricate electric guitar parts, call & response in the vocals, and a strong backbeat from the drums. Most of all, you get to the core of Brothers McClurg’s “community” values - there’s a real feeling of togetherness in the multiple vocal parts, lending itself perfectly to a “congregational” song.

“You Shine Through” (a co-write with Rend Collective Experiment) begins with a mellow acoustic-driven verse, but builds amazingly into a powerful chorus. I particularly like the unison-harmony split in this chorus - the first 2 lines are sung in unison, then it opens into a deeper, harmonic feel for the last 2 lines. Rend Collective’s influence is very apparent in this lively acoustic praise track.

My standout tracks on the album come in the form of two reflective songs - “From Every Stormy Wind That Blows”, and “Forgiven Forever”. Brothers McClurg’s undoubted strength is in the harmonies that Chris & Anthony generate - it really does sound like one voice in places. Both of these songs showcase this beautifully - “From Every Stormy Wind That Blows” sits the vocals right to the fore of the mix, backed in the verses only by soft picked acoustics. The lyrical composition in this track is deeply evocative, drawing you in to the vision of God’s power, grace, and love pouring out over us as we worship before the Mercy Seat.

“Forgiven Forever” is a song I’d previously heard on Glenn Packiam’s Forgiven Forever EP - and if anything I like it even more as a result of this new arrangement. A catchy, vocal introduction leads us into this wonderful composition of poetic lyrics and subtle instrumental undertones. Look out for the bridge in this one - the words of Paul in Romans 8:38 are set powerfully to music here.

The album takes an interesting twist in “Come to the Fount” - a crackled retro vinyl sample leads us into a smooth saxophone introduction to this smooth jazz-style adaptation of “Come Thou Fount”. Chris & Anthony’s hallmark harmonies are once again out in force, yet here they are set against a backdrop of melodic bass and riffy electrics - with a pleasing solo around half way through. Stylistically, this may not be everyone’s first choice, and yet it makes a refreshing change from the norm.

Collaborations abound on this album, with the 2 songs written with David Leonard & Leslie Jordan of All Sons & Daughters being worthy of particular note here. “Lean Not” is a pure acoustic track speaking of our need to lean on Him and to trust Him - echoing the words spoken in Proverbs 3:5-6. “Alive” is a longer version of the opener to All Sons & Daughters’ Season One album - though with a very similar feel. Chris & Anthony’s version seems a little lighter on the arrangement - for the most part a single vocal takes us through the verses, with harmonies coming in on choruses. The bridge is an addition speaking of our desire to be filled with Him so He can use us for His Kingdom.

This isn’t just a good album for a first album - it’s a great album in every sense of the word. Get these songs into your churches, there’s some truly great material here.

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