I Have a Dream (It Feels Like Home) - The City Harmonic, CD Review & Giveaway
Ever since Hamilton Ontario based band The City Harmonic released their EP Introducing The City Harmonic on November 23, 2010, they have quickly catapulted from a small independent Canadian band to a respected, well written and to-be-noticed force in Christian music. They have definitely been put to the test this past year with tour dates, interviews and live performances but only seem to have given them more of a drive to write.
Being quoted as “nostalgic Brit-pop meets campfire sing-along” with some musical comparisons to Coldplay and Arcade Fire, they have definitely been a band that some would expect to find pumping out top 40 hits, radio releases and the allure of quick success. I don’t see that however. They have had great momentum on the heels of their acclaimed single "Manifesto" which has been viewed over 1,000,000 times on YouTube and has also become an anthem for major organizations and sports figures. Although the band is fairly young, there is a maturity and discernment in their lyrics.
Listening to this album, I Have a Dream (It Feels Like Home), I’m thoroughly convinced – whether through mutual resolve or great mentoring, the band has delivered a true manifesto – their public declaration to the world that they have something to say, know why they need to say it and also deliver the answer (though not from themselves) but rather the One who delivered it. This album is a journey using clever musicality, piano driven melodic patterns, anthem-like choruses drawing you into singing along, all while delivering a deliberate message. A key lyric that stood out to me in the song "Fell Apart" is “…something real in a world of fake”. It’s obvious in their writing that they are not afraid to tackle the “fake” that the world has to offer and suggest a better way.
The message is clear from the band that the music, lyrics and writing they wish to share will not be locked into a “hit” formula. The opening track "Yours" contains no quick rhythm, it exceeds 4 minutes in length, no rush to the vocals or even a steady toe tapping beat – the hook simply doesn’t come until the chorus itself. I love the fact that this very first track declares “Yours, all of it”. I suspect this could act as an offering from the band to God regarding the album itself. I respect that greatly. Musicians will also appreciate the subtle time signature change in the bridge leading to the ending chorus.
Another great song is "Be Still, O My Soul". I appreciate how it builds out of a mono sounding “piano in the room feel”, it grows into stereo with use of harmonica and acoustic guitars, lights up quickly with a sound reminiscent of U2’s All I Want is You style but then as quickly as it builds it dies. It actually makes you want more. The track "Wake Me Up" continues with creativity starting with the hammered dulcimer and builds into another piano driven anthem. The title track "I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)" in my opinion starts very similar to "That Song" by another Canadian band Big Wreck (later Thornley) but in all fairness, departs quickly after the opening into another well arranged piano driven rock ballad.
The album is a sonic journey, an audio canvas of a story unfolding much like a painting being created where history, pain, reality, hopes, dreams and the promise of the afterlife intertwine with one destination. Although you are keenly aware of your broken and sinful condition as you reflect on the lyrics of this album, the destination of each song and ultimately the album is a sense that our dream, the home we have in God is real, available and waiting.
I would recommend this album highly to anyone searching the truth of God or those who have walked with Him for years. You will be moved as I was.
To enter to win the CD, just leave a comment on this review. We'll pick 3 random winners. Deadline is Wednesday, October 26th, 2011. You must be a resident of the U.S. or Canada and at least 18 years old.Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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