Last year, an established independent band was finally introduced to an audience deserving something different from the norm. In a scene where worship is a driving movement in Christian music, it's easy for the music to fall into a pattern of redundancy. The anything-but-typical foursome known as the Rock 'N' Roll Worship Circus made a grand entrance in 2002 with their national debut Welcome to the Rock 'N' Roll Worship Circus bringing a refreshing sound to the sometimes stale genre. Nominated for Dove Awards in New Artist of the Year, Modern Rock Album of the Year and taking home and award for the album's Packaging, the RRWC was beginning to snag the recognition this talented group deserved. With three independent projects and a national release tightly tucked beneath their proverbial belts, the band began recording their second national release in the Spring of 2003.
A Beautiful Glow is a tight collection of ten original worship songs that have been crafted to utter musical perfection. The Worship Circus pulls most of their influences unashamedly from the sounds of the 60's, citing references like The Beatles, The Monkees, and Pink Floyd. And while these influences are often very recognizable from song to song, the Circus not only does the style perfectly but they put a signature twist on the classic sound and the result is a beautiful thing.
The title track gets the circus rolling with its driving sonic guitar sounds and tasty guitar riffs. The lyrics are modern worship at its finest as the Gabriel Wilson's versatile vocals cry out for God to make him a light unto the lost to see His Glory. The song can easily be an anthem for Christians to be "beautiful glows" for Jesus to minister to the world. The infectious and irresistible "Love Color," which originally appeared on the band's independent release Little Star Logistics follows, a rock song describing God's love and seeking Him. "Blessed Tune" picks up where the wonderful "We Sing Glory" from their previous record left off. This tender ballad features a reverent Wilson singing of our Savior, "Blessed is he who comes to the feet of the King / Washed by the blood of the Son / And oh who are we? / To kneel before and sing, / 'Glory, Hallelujah'." "The Gift of Cool" offers a retro flavor as Wilson talks about how "cool" a revival is where people of various backgrounds are coming to Christ. "I remember the day when the love of God came to town / He took all the silent and broken hearts and fixed them up and gave them a sound / He had almost every kind of kid from every kind of social background / taking all the 'cool' they had in praising God as He spun them around..." It's a song of hope that puts the excitement and thrill back into seeing brothers and sisters come to know the Lord.
"Morning Glory" is another highlight with an undeniable Monkees flare, while the hard-driving "New Wave Revolution" shows the Circus rocking their loudest as Wilson's vocals are more gravelly and raw. In the same vein as the incredible "The Undiscovered," "Scary Drifter" is a melodic and almost eerie tune that breaks out into chorus that is a call for worship, "Let the earth and all that's in it / Clap our hands and shout out loud / With our love and voices singing 'Glory to the Holy One of God'." Here Gabe is offered background vocal support from his wife Blurr who always adds to the sensitivity of the band's ballads. Blurr sang more on the band's earlier work and this just reminded me that I'd like to hear more vocal support from her from time to time. "Great Big Love" is a glorious nod to the greatest tunes from The Beatles. The song is destined to become a repeater in your mind, but is regretfully short her, clocking in at just over 2 minutes and 45 seconds. But the album, once again, comes to a fitting and beautiful close with the melodic rock track "Loveliest Bride" that features some tasty guitar licks and instrumental moments that serve as a lovely soundtrack for worship.
I gotta say The Worship Circus has done it again! Since hearing their national debut last year and later their 2001 independent release Big Star Logistics, this band has just been leaving me awe struck. My only complaint with their sophomore national release, A Beautiful Glow is that, finishing with just ten tracks, it feels a bit short. A few songs could have been taken further musically as done with "Loveliest Bride" and a few more tracks tacked on would have been an added bonus (especially in contrast to the band's two previous recordings featuring 14 songs on each release). Regardless, the band has clearly trimmed the fat on A Beautiful Glow to create an unmistakably beautiful record. Once again, the Circus releases a record not to miss and one that should not be overlooked as just another worship release this Summer.- Review date: 8/18/03, written by John DiBiase
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