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"Current", Sarah Macintosh - CD Review

"Current", Sarah Macintosh - CD Review

By Ed Rotheram on March 06, 2012

From the moment the looped drumbeat and strings riff come in to the opening track from Sarah MacIntosh’s Current album, it begins to live up to it’s name. Current does exactly what it suggests, pulling the listener in with descriptive, conceptual lyrics and a catchy, melodic chorus. Wonderfully textured vocals, backed up by well structured arrangements give this album a unique edge from the outset.

From the title track, we move to the first single release from the album - ‘We Should Run’. This punchy track opens with a whimsical vocal line backed by a beautiful picked arpeggio from a harp - themes that continue as an undercurrent to the song. This track underpins Sarah’s overall vision for the album, as she explains:

“I hope that the listener will grab onto them [the songs] and say ‘Yes! This is for me!’ These are the songs of my heartbeat.”

The idea of running toward a Savior who is for us, wants to have fun with us, who is there for us and who wants to inhabit our praises to Him certainly comes under my vision, and it is one which I find shared in the songs of this album..

My personal favorite song on the album comes in the form of ‘Take it All’. The sparse arrangement of piano with heavy reverb, a pulsating drumbeat and Sarah’s strong, melodic vocal sets the tone perfectly for a song describing a worshipper in full abandoned praise. This is the track that, in my opinion, would get closest to being used in a congregational setting - the chorus, and also the refrain of “I will be found in You” are particularly conducive to congregational worship.

‘Hope’ is a song that conveys the greatness of His love and His plan over us and our situations, proclaiming the hope that can be found in Him and His glory. The evocative closing tag line of “We will run, will laugh, we will dance, we will shout, when You’re back for us” brings the message of hope and joy perfectly. If I could make one criticism of this track, it would be that it could perhaps have been a little more adventurous melodically. Sarah has an undeniably strong vocal gifting, and yet in ‘Hope’ I feel that the melody lines are a little too safe.

Other highlights on the album include ‘Hiding Place’ - something of a detraction from the feel of the rest of the album - a stripped back reflective song speaking of the intimate nature of Sarah’s relationship with the Lord, and ‘Calling, Calling’. The latter is something of a triumph of diversity in arrangement - the slow 6/8 rhythm gives it something different to begin with, and the building of several converging layers throughout the song gives it a compelling, progressive feel.

On the whole I really enjoyed this album. Sarah certainly has her own sound, and this has been thoughtfully and passionately captured, developed and displayed throughout this release. I would happily give this a 4 out of 5 rating, there are some real gems in here.

-Ed Rotheram

(review copy provided by Integrity Music)

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