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JFH Staff Review


TheCity Harmonic, I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)
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TheCity Harmonic
I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)



Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 12 tracks: 44 minutes, 49 seconds
Street Date: October 18, 2011


Not too long ago we were given an excellent introduction from Canadian piano-rockers The City Harmonic. Their song "Manifesto" made an incredible impression on listeners and now they've returned to give us a full album of new material. Garnering inspiration from the civil rights history maker Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, they've produced I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home). Combining worship and the fight for justice, it is definitely not an album to be digested lightly.

Setting the foundation of the album is the emotional U2-esque opener, "Yours." Lyrics of surrender and sacrifice weave throughout the song as front man Elias Dummer sings, "All my sin, all my fear, all my sorrys for the things I've done. You can have it all." It's the blatant honesty that gives the song depth and potency. Appropriately following the surrender is "Spark." The track opens softly with gentle piano and Dummer's raw voice. As a special treat, the song closes with the inspiring speech by MLK when he declares that he has been to the mountaintop; this of course transitions seamlessly to the anthem sharing that same heart, "Mountaintop." As displayed in their previous release, they are masters of the anthem. The excellent rhythm and crowd singing are sure to compel listeners to join in the chant.

"Fell Apart" and "Be Still, O My Soul" deal with the falling apart and healing of the soul. While the former confesses the proneness to wander away from God, the latter declares the desire to be found in Him. The two songs contrast each other but compliment so well. "Wake Me Up" delivers another gut punching anthem as it sings of living life in the glory of God today. "I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)" echoes this theme but more in an eternal sense. As a title track, it doesn't stick out as much, but the theme really solidifies within it as Dummer confidently sings, "I have a dream that you can have with me of a city that shines so bright at night. Where love is true, but this love, He finds You."

As the album draws near to the close, it heavily focuses on the intimate love of God. "Le Reve," a mostly-instrumental track, has that lullaby feel that creates an excellent shift into this theme. Pointing to the beautiful verses found in 1 John and 1 Corinthians is "Love" as it acknowledges all of the attributes of love and knowing that they all reference the character of God. Culminating that thought is "Holy (Wedding Day)." Hands down, lyrically, doctrinally and musically, it is one of the most solid songs of the year, with such powerful words they shout, "This is the story of the son of God hanging on a cross for me. And it ends with a bride and groom and a wedding by a glassy sea. This is the story of a bride in white singin' on her wedding day. Altogether all that was, and is can stand before her God and sing." The creativity in communicating the gospel through words and music is impeccable and a major feat for Christian music. Concluding The City Harmonic's latest offering is "Benediction;" it's a sweet close of encouragement to live for Jesus everyday: a gentle yet heavy message.

Introducing… was accurately only a glimpse at who these Canadian gentlemen are. This album is sure to establish The City Harmonic as not just another band, but as a movement of new worship artists. The words are honest, the music original, and the doctrine thick. If you are a worship leader in search of new congregational, and even personal, worship songs these are for you and your church.

- Review date: 10/16/11, written by Ryan Barbee of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

JFH Staff's Second Opinion



Last year we were introduced to The City Harmonic with an EP that came out with rave reviews. Their first full-length album, I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home), has followed suit, with some early reviews going so far as to give it a perfect score. What seems to be the big deal with The City Harmonic? It may be that they've created a sound that doesn't quite sound like every other worship album, but is still incredibly accessible at the same time. Now of course, they do have their songs that seem to walk in the footsteps of some worship band forerunners; "Wake Me Up" and the chorus of "Yours" are both examples of the standard anthemic worship we're all so accustomed to. "Mountaintop" even has a chorus that would fit on a Hillsong album (they even added layers of vocals in the background, giving it a sound like it's a live recording). There's also their debut single from their EP, "Manifesto," which was tacked on to the end of I Have A Dream in radio-edit format. I can appreciate "Manifesto," as it's a good ending to the album, using the Nicene Creed as its lyrics and bringing it all back to Jesus, but I don't like the sound, and I can't help but think that the Lord's Prayer in the bridge is a little awkward and out of place. I also feel like the album didn't need a re-release of the song, and that it would have ended on a much better note had "Benediction" served as the final track. Now, while the record has its fair share of the mundane, it also has some bright moments that are worth mentioning. The piano in "Le Reve" is beautiful, and I really like the acoustic folk sound of "Love." And every once in a while, a melody or some guitarwork will bring U2 to mind. The City Harmonic does a fairly good job of bringing something fresh to the table with their debut. While it's not a stunning album, it's not bad either. As I'm always looking for innovative new worship music, I may have to keep my eye on these guys - they just might do something amazing in the future. - Scott Fryberger, 10/1/11

 

. Record Label: Kingsway Music
. Album length: 12 tracks: 44 minutes, 49 seconds
. Street Date: October 18, 2011
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3
. Buy It: Amazon.com

  1. Yours (4:36)
  2. Spark (4:32)
  3. Mountaintop (4:17)
  4. Fell Apart (4:29)
  5. Be Still, O My Soul (3:23)
  6. Wake Me Up (4:51)
  7. I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home) (4:11)
  8. Le Reve (1:44)
  9. Love (2:48)
  10. Holy (Wedding Day) (4:17)
  11. Benediction (1:42)
  12. Manifesto (Radio Edit) (4:04)
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