There are many directions an artist can take when it comes to crafting worship music. Some go for the more common approach, often utilizing an anthemic chorus and simple song structure, while others use a little more artistic expression not so easily covered by a church band. Brooklyn's Young Oceans, an art rock project founded by Eric Marshall, have decided to redo some of their most popular songs to suit a more congregational oriented setting. The result is the wonderful Voices, Vol. 1.
The compilation features a range of outside artists such as Leeland, Sarah Macintosh, Ellie Holcomb, Harvest Parker, and Mike Donehey from Tenth Avenue North, rather than Eric himself. This diverse list of voices only adds to the album's appeal (and surprisingly its coherence) and each artist does an excellent cover of the songs given. "My All in Thee," covered by Ellie Holcomb, is one of the album's many highlights and an excellent example. Featuring minimal instrumentation and a hymn-like character, Ellie's vocals are given the chance to shine as she warmly sings, "Show me your way, my love, my Lord / Draw me to grace, so strong and sure / I run to your mercy, where I am free / Let me find my all in thee." Likewise, "Only You," covered by Evan Wickham, opts for a more folk-led approach over the original's atmospheric one and it works exceptionally well, improving on an already strong track.
The songs on Voices, Vol.1 embrace a minimalistic tone that few will deny sits at the heart of worship. It's warm, approachable and effectively fulfills its purpose of creating an atmosphere of congregational worship. While it's not the best worship album of the year, it's definitely one of the most likable. Let's hope volume two isn't too far away.
- Review date: 5/11/16, written by Lucas Munachen of Jesusfreakhideout.com