Thursday, June 25, 2015

Reborn - Finding Favour


Rural sounds and storytelling among the highlights on first full length

Reborn
Artist: Finding Favour
Label: Gotee Records
Length: 11 tracks/40:42 minutes

Just learning that Toby McKeehan (aka tobyMac) is a co-executive producer and that this is on Gotee Records, the label he cofounded in 1994, is enough to interest me in Reborn, the first full album by Finding Favour.

Don’t expect this to sound like tobyMac’s music. Casey Brown is the producer, and the opening “Refuge” is a soaring worship anthem along the lines of Phil Wickham. The sound and style also remind me of Coldplay. I’m thinking, This is a pop/rock/worship band.

Though this Vidalia, GA band formed in 2005 may be that in part, I’m glad there is more. I appreciate variety; I don’t want to hear the same song over the course of an album. They could have easily done that on the remainder of this release.

The next song, “I’ll Find You,” has an energetic hook that sounds a little like an Irish reel and includes a shouted “hey!” It may be a small departure from the first song but that is just the beginning.

Song number three takes me back to my classic rock days. “Cast My Cares,” turns on power chords similar to what you hear on “Baba O’Riley” by The Who. It makes the forceful delivery of the chorus all the more powerful. This is not a sweet “cast your cares” song. I like those, but this is a declaration. It’s a resolve not to be anxious. This is also the first single.

“Feels like the First Time,” song four, is a joyous ode to marriage. One reason for this is the prominent banjo playing and the lighthearted sentiments. This erases any thought that this is just another praise and worship band.  

The fifth song, “Be Like You,” is sentimental but not overly sweet. It could easily chart on country radio. It expresses desire for God’s help in anticipation of the birth of a baby girl.

It’s becoming apparent that I hear a welcome Mumford & Sons influence. It’s a full sound complemented by acoustic and rural accents.

The title track, the sixth song, has a brief hammer dulcimer prelude. How I wish that had remained more prominent in the mix. The song celebrates new life in Christ. It reverts to a pop/rock sound; not unwelcome with its fullness, but I would like to hear what it could be with the dulcimer not being buried and more acoustic highlights. Calling tobyMac! I want a remix.

Track seven, “Tiny Town,” celebrates hometown roots. Again, this has a strong country influence. Like songs four and five, it engages in storytelling, which I find desirable and is not typically found on praise and worship recordings.

The next song, “Till Your Kingdom Comes,” mines Mumford & Sons territory with spirited singing and prominent handclaps. This is the kind of welcome variation that the worship genre needs and is becoming more prevalent.

Track nine, “On the Water,” is a favorite for its vulnerability. Here walking on the water is a metaphor for risk in the Christian life. It’s sometimes scary. I appreciate the unadorned electric guitar playing in the first part. The instrumentation is beautiful throughout and the production more sparse, a plus in my outlook.

“Hallelujah One More Time” is modern worship but sounds a little too common.

The closing, “Say Amen (Reprise),” ends in an appealing subdued style. This is a revamp of the song that was released as the band’s second single in 2014. The lyrics would fit well in an African-American setting, but the style is more country than gospel.

This is easy to like; a welcome relief from one style of worship. I appreciate the variation.
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