LABEL: SPARROW RECORDS
RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 25, 2011
yler, Texas seems to be a good place to call home– at least if you want to launch a musical career. With great names including Eisley, Paul Baloche and Ivoryline hailing from the city, Luminate has a big reputation to live up to. And they don’t do a bad job of carrying on the tradition.
Technically, Come Home is not the band’s debut release, nor are they complete rookies to the music industry. They have several EPs to their name and landed a lucrative spot on the highly successful “Come Alive” tour with Superchick, Chasen and John Reuben. And with at least 5 years experience together and summers-worth of exposure, they are definitely no amateurs. But this is their first full-length, major label release. And a promising one at that.
Many artists (especially newer bands) tend to avoid the complex, the profound and the interesting – choosing instead to compromise with the easy, the simple, the straightforward – music by numbers, tracks by formulae. Others choose to pioneer, breaking new ground, pushing back boundaries and generally upsetting the established order with every note they sing. Luminate do neither – or both. After first listening, one kind of feels you’ve maybe heard the album before in some previous life, they exhibit most of the aspects of conventional rock/pop album – the production, the hooks, the weird way it sounds like Tenth Avenue North meets the Afters. But with repeated listening, previously unknown layers to the music are exposed, and you have to reassess your earlier misgivings.
Creating 48 minutes of top-class, excellent, inspiring, soul-stirring music is not an undemanding task. Luminate deliver an impressive effort, offering accessible music that still throws a few punches. The opening track (“Innocent”) is powerful and easily has you convinced that you want to listen on. The passion emitted from “Come Home” is fantastic and “Atmosphere” is mysteriously electrifying. From the empowering “On Your Side” to the acoustic closer “This Is Love”, each track showcases solid melodies and resounding unified sound .
Sam Hancock’s soaring vocals pull together the lyrics. Each delivery is heartfelt; each line holds some truth. Whilst the exact wording may not always be grand, the depth of feeling more than makes up for what is lacking. In “All I Want”, the song ends with “Oh, You are my Love / (Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh)” which is not going to win any poetic prizes… but it doesn’t matter because the feeling is sincere. One of Luminate’s greatest strengths is the way they are able to connect with their listeners. Their songs resonate. “Hope Is Rising” is ridiculously uncomplicated but that only adds to its charm.
However, sometimes there is a spark of creativity that is bigger than the rest. While the other tracks may be good, this one is truly great. In Come Home, the biggest flash of brilliance is called “Destiny”. “Destiny” is the show stopper and it features the crazily, explosive amazingness of Stu G on the guitar. Pure musical genius. If you buy nothing else this month, race to whatever store you want and buy this. Nothing about it is standard, it is possibly the most extraordinary worship song around at the moment“…Lord hold me tight / I’m tempted to run, and give up this fight / My only hope is to look in the eyes of my/ Destiny, my Perfect Peace / And all I need is You”.
Come Home is not an average album. There are too many moments of excellence; there is too much that is too good to just dismiss this as another rock/pop CCM boy-band fad. It is an unashamedly an ‘anthem’ album, offering track after track of rousing music. I’m genuinely impressed with their fusion of accessibility and creativity. Whilst they’re only just starting out on this stage of their journey, Come Home shows that they know where their roots are. Let’s hope they build from here.