Let's get the obvious out of the way. Upon hearing the pitch of this project, many Christian music lovers might be tempted to think of Jon Foreman, but only half of that name would be right. Jonathan Ogden, more commonly known as the voice of English worship band Rivers & Robots, has released an album with each track representing an hour in the day. The comparison to The Wonderlands will be there (side note: it's also interesting that Ogden has a series of seasonal EPs, also just like Foreman), so is Twenty Four able to hold its own against that formidable standard? Well, its differences are what make it even more ambitious and consistent than Foreman's works.
Twenty Four is less a collection of tunes that feel like their respective hour slots and more like palettes that paint the soundtrack of a day. All of the tracks are under three minutes long, and it's not because they don't take enough time to develop their themes. Rather, the themes are held and played with across a number of tracks. Much of the album flows into each other in a disorientingly seamless way. It's easy to lose track of time and forget where you are in the tracklist. Like a film that feigns being shot in one take, the cuts are often unnoticeable. Conversely, the similitude that is intricately maintained here can make the album feel like it's not stylistically diverse enough to maintain interest. Its instrumental emphasis (I'd say 65% of the album is wordless) plays into that as well. Fortunately, the combination of electronic pop, lo-fi beats, and Ogden's trademark of chill rhythmic motives and simple harmonic motion makes for a pleasant listen all the way through. It does get a little more abstract in the latter half, but never to the point where it betrays what the former set up. The lyrics reflect the moods well: Ogden sticks to his forte of Scriptural lines painted in a romantic way.
Twenty Four doesn't strive to run the gamut of emotional diversity that different parts of the day can bring. It's more like a day that begins with energy and optimism and ends with peace for the next one. It's ambitious in its pleasantness, and it's probably one of the key everyday-listening releases for the year.- Review date: 2/10/20, written by Mason Haynie of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: None
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