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JFH Music Review

We Are Messengers, 'Where The Joy Is'

We Are Messengers
Where The Joy Is

Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Pop
Album length: 10 tracks: 31 minutes, 42 seconds
Street Date: April 5, 2024


There is a great history of the Irish in rock and roll music. From the 1960's and 70's heyday of the soulful Van Morrison, to the 80's peak of U2, and from the 1990's alternative wail of The Cranberries and ethereal sound of Iona, back to the soulful Hozier of today, Ireland has produced its share of great music. And alongside their fellow Irishmen, Rend Collective, We Are Messengers have delivered the poignant Gallic viewpoint and sound to Christian Music for nearly a decade now. Primary "messenger" Darren Mulligan's distinct Irish brogue and baritone voice carries the band's sound as they jump around genre's a bit between their major releases. And for their latest album, the buoyant and bouncy Where The Joy Is, the band settles into an 80's alternative sound (think lots of vintage keyboard tones) that would fit neatly on The Breakfast Club soundtrack.

Kicking it off with the terrific and encouraging "Keep Your Head Up," the shiny keyboards and infectious groove offer a musical tonic for this dreary time of year. Mulligan has a way of delivering plainspoken lyrics with a force and personality that lifts up the words that otherwise might feel ordinary in another setting: "We're all strangers on the way to the promised land / Fighting battles that we don't understand / But every step we're led by the Father's hand / Oh don't give up /Keep your head up / And your heart wide open / Don't you give up / Just keep on going / I know it's hard running in the dead of night / But Jesus will be waiting at the finish line / Keep your head up / Just keep your head up." "Keep Your Head Up" is a fitting example of what the band does very well, and that is offering songs of true encouragement with a creative pep.

The following, anthemic and rolling "A Thousand Times" continues this "blue collar," plainspoken path with a few good turns of phrase: "He made His mercies new / Cause He knew we'd forget / All the things He's done / And just how good He is / He's a faithful God / Every word is true / And He always does / What He says He'll do." The sing-song nature of the lyrics paired with another vintage keyboard sound again lift the simple lyrics of encouragement higher. Mulligan plays to his strengths here with vocals and melodies, and the album's opening tracks (including the wonderfully retro title song) are delightfully energetic.

Where The Joy Is continues apace, with a few worship numbers that are perhaps a bit too formulaic in their approach (when the music veers too close to the current CCM formula, the plainspoken lyrics can just sound a bit ordinary, alas). Thankfully, things recover when the great Blanca shows up for the wonderful 80's dance party number, "My Hope Is In You." The voices pair off each other well, and having a guest star or two on the album again lifts the material up. Final track "Glory And My Good" ends the album in "movie end credits" style, and on balance, Where The Joy Is rocks and rolls for the glory of God and the encouragement of the masses. Mulligan and crew have a true, palpable heart for ministry and encouragement, and this album is a nice boost for the soul. Somewhere, St. Patrick is surely smiling down.

- Review date: 4/4/24, written by Alex Caldwell of

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. Record Label: Curb Records
. Album length: 10 tracks: 31 minutes, 42 seconds
. Street Date: April 5, 2024
. Buy It: Apple Music
. Buy It: (CD)
. Buy It: (Vinyl)
. Buy It: Amazon Music (MP3)

  1. Keep Your Head Up (2:46)
  2. A Thousand Times (3:40)
  3. Where The Joy Is (2:55)
  4. God Be The Glory (3:36)
  5. How Great You Are (2:50)
  6. My Hope Is In You (feat. Blanca) (2:43)
  7. I Found Rest (feat. Ben Fuller) (3:25)
  8. All Things (2:45)
  9. Worthy Of Being Loved (3:47)
  10. Glory And My Good (3:15)



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