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Introducing Claire Hamilton - CD Review

By Ed Rotheram on July 07, 2011

If you haven’t heard of Claire Hamilton by name yet, don’t worry - you may have heard her voice before - and you’ll almost certainly have heard of the guys backing her on this album. Claire, together with some of the guys from her other project (Rend Collective Experiment) has, in this EP, brought together 6 of her own songs, demonstrating not only her anointing as a worship leader, but also as a gifted songwriter. Here’s a track-by-track breakdown of this EP:

“In View of Your Mercy” - This co-write with Ben Cantelon is a powerful opener to the album. A strong, drum-led introduction opens out into a song that speaks of the privilege we hold in being able to approach God in worship. I particularly like the references to Romans 12 - offering our lives as living sacrifices in worship to God - a passage that has always held a special place in my heart.

“Lend Me Your Heart” - One of the standout tracks on the album for me. The space that is created by the simple, yet solid backing of bass, drums and electric guitars allows Claire’s melodic vocal line to clearly come to the fore, backed by some great harmony lines in the chorus. This song speaks of a desire to bring the Gospel to people with the heart of Christ - to see healing, deliverance, salvation and justice through the eyes of His heart.

“My Refuge” - When we’re feeling out of touch with the Lord, it is sometimes easy to forget just how close He is to us. One line of this song strikes me every time I hear it - “You are as close as the mention of Your name”. The strength of the message of this song is awesome - we are loved by a God who is our strength, our hope, and our refuge in times of need. This song is a great example of the more reflective side of Claire’s worship style - piano and ethereal guitars emphasize these feelings, and draw us into a place where we can connect with Him.

“Breathe on Me” - If you want a song of invitation for the Lord’s presence to come and speak to you, work within you, and encapsulate you, look no further. Here, we again find the blend of simple, effective, ethereal backing for an almost choral vocal offering. Here we see the strength of Claire’s vocal gifting - the strength of the melody line, backed by the subtlety of the harmonies is simply beautiful.

“Come Satisfy Us” - On another of the standout tracks of the album, we find Claire joined by Aaron Keyes for a track that reflects the Rend Collective influence on Claire’s music. Although almost hymnal in form, chord structure and melody, the song has a lightness to it - an almost folk air that draws heavily on the Irish roots of Claire’s music.

This was the first song of Claire’s that I came across, during a worship set she was involved in with Chris McClarney. Although I had been previously unaware of the song, by the end of the first chorus I (and the rest of the congregation) had all but learnt it - the uncomplicated feel to the lyrics, together with a teachable melody line make it very conducive to corporate worship.

“Look to the Cross” - A highly charged finisher to the album sees heavy, punchy guitars and a lively drumbeat catapult us into a catchy song speaking of the power of Christ’s suffering for us at the cross. Continuing the themes of hope, grace and mercy that are abundant throughout this album, this song reminds us of who we are in Christ, and where our salvation lies. I always like it when modern worshippers draw on the great hymn writers for inspiration, and here we find nestled into the song words from Charles Wesley’s “Love Divine” - speaking of the joyful love that was poured out for us on the cross.

Claire carries the whole-hearted endorsement of such established worship leaders as Brenton Brown, Chris McClarney, Kathryn Scott, and Matt Redman, and on the basis of this album, it’s not difficult to see why. If you’re looking for songs to lead you into a deeper time of worship with the Lord, look no further. There are songs of reflection, redemption, praise and adoration contained within this album, all underpinned by the grace, hope, mercy and love that the Lord gives to us in abundance.

-reviewed by Ed Rotheram

Introducing Claire Hamilton - EP - Claire Hamilton

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