In a day when pop-rock dominates the Christian music market, it's not unheard of for one of the real gems to slip through the cracks and not get their due attention, sales, and radio play. Thus is the case with Canadian based band Downhere. Having released three critically acclaimed records, they now bring forth their latest offering, Ending is Beginning.
This record, once again, beautifully features the band's two contrasting lead vocalists. The utilization of Martel's higher range, Germaine's lower range, and the two playing off of each other (depending upon the desired mood for the song) creates not just something unique, but lasting impressions of the songs as well. The depth of this duo doesn't just end on the performance side but is also evident in the composition of the lyrics. This is especially seen in songs like "All At War" and "The Beggar Who Gives Alms."
Musically, this one has everything you've come to expect from the band but with a few tweaks. For example, a harder rock edge can be heard in "Something Heavenly." While it's not necessarily groundbreaking on a musical level, it feels fresh coming from this band. "My Last Amen" has a good funk beat to it that is reminiscent of what you hear in modern rock from the mainstream market. It also features some trumpet fills that give it a unique feel that stands out from the rest of the record.
The brightest spot of the entire record may be "Cathedral Made of People." This is a song that would seem to challenge the comfortability and luxury that plagues the Christian faith. The song begins by asking, "If they shut down the churches, where would you go? / If they melted all the stained glass windows and replaced every sanctuary with a condo/ Where would you go?" It goes on to explain that the church is not just a building and that the Bible is more than just a book to be picked up and read at leisure. These are privileges that someday we may not have.
However, I did find myself asking, "Where's all the fun?" A staple of Downhere was that they could stir your spirit on one song and on the next, they could share a deep spiritual truth with you through a fun, upbeat number. While there are a couple of exceptions ("Last Amen" & "Coming Back Home"), this collection comes away with a much more serious feel. This is a bit disappointing but doesn't subtract too much from the overall experience.
All in all, Downhere brings a solid offering from almost every perspective yet again. If you find yourself listening to the radio and thinking about how stale so much of Christian pop-rock has become, then Ending is Beginning is definitely a record you want to pick up. It's a little hard to come away disappointed from this one.- Review date: 9/21/08, written by Matt Johnson
Record Label:Centricity Records
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