In this new, digital musical world of ours, the Christmas EP has become a staple of the season. It's particularly useful for new bands to get music out quickly, and usually consists of a few classics, done in the band's style, and one or two original songs featuring a Christmas theme. What's refreshing about We Are Messengers' God With Us EP is that, aside from a few lines of "Joy To The World" woven into the opening tune, the songs here are all originals, reflecting the astounding idea that God has come to be "with us." Lead messenger (and proud Irishman) Darren Mulligan guides his band through four high energy songs of the season that leave the listener wanting more.
The aforementioned opening song, "Heaven To Earth," finds Mulligan and company exploding into a chorus of celebration that "heaven and nature will sing" for "the Lord has come / oh what a wondrous love / sing for the Lord has come / from Heaven to earth." Lots of artists in Christian music weld old hymns to new choruses, but this song builds a whole new song with just a hint of the old, familiar Christmas carol, and in the process, breaths new life into the message of Christmas.
"God With Us" continues this theme, with a rousing melody that celebrates that "no matter how it feels / He is with us / let this be your hope / He is Emmanuel / in the lonely midnight / he broke through the dark." Mulligan's soulful baritone (a bit like Bruce Springsteen with an Irish brogue mixed in) is put to excellent use here, and his delivery is a highlight. Third song "Flesh & Bone" continues the winning streak, with a down tempo (but still energetic) tune celebrating a Lord who has "claimed my wandering soul / when you made this world your home." Fourth and final song "Christ Our King" pulls out all the stops, using a children's choir and fiery guest rap from Steven Malcolm in an epic song that finishes up the album's theme in rousing fashion.
We Are Messengers proves that after a fine debut album released this past year, they are capable of making good music in any season, and God With Us will earn the band even more fans. But much more important than that, they bring the focus back to the heart of Christmas message, that "the Lord has come to be with us."
- Review date: 12/21/16, written by Alex Caldwell of Jesusfreakhideout.com