RELEASE DATE: MARCH 6, 2012
arah Macintosh is no stranger to the Christian music scene, but she is certainly a conundrum. The former Chasing Furies front-woman is back with her eclectic version of singer-songwriter tinged worship music that is harder to categorize than the terms I just used to describe it. Her sound has always been elusive and when she first hit the scene in 1999, the Christian music industry let her know as much. Now, however, the industry seems more “elusive-friendly” and Macintosh has returned with her second batch of original pieces in the form of Current.
A brief sampling if I may.
“Current” is the lead track and it is at once a prayer to be caught up in God and an observation about how people often get swept up in the “currents” of life’s circumstances. Beginning with playful strings, it is not long before strident drums and Macintosh’s vocals rise through the din singing, “Life is a current/Pulling out to the sea where we can’t see/Danger waits for us/Preying on those who hold closely and tightly…” They’re not the most hopeful of worship lyrics, but they don’t sugarcoat the realities Christians face on a day-to-day basis as they walk out their faith.
“Laughter Comes Upon Us” is a slower piece and where I believe Macintosh does some of her best work. The vocal layering is simple, the instruments lithe and breathy, sticking with the singer’s unique sound. It is definitely more of a performance piece, but that works just fine.
“Galaxy Former” is likely the most straight-forward worship song on the project and recalls the vocals of Christine Dente. It’s a good song, however the thematic opening, that I believe is supposed to communicate the grandeur of God as he creates the cosmos, gets to be a little bit long. It is nearly a minute before we even hear Macintosh’s voice on the track.
There are some definite trip-hop, ambient elements to “The Damaged” and it is a nice, haunting addition to an otherwise “light” piece. This is a “dark” tone that the project needed and the artist manages herself well. As a listener, I never felt lost or put off by the sudden change of piece.
One major flaw of the album is that songs can begin to blend together after a while. Sarah Macintosh has such an ethereal voice that is quite easy to find oneself lulled into a dream-like state, which can affect the overall listening experience.
Overall, my feeling is that Current goes by much too fast, which is surprising for an album that boasts a majority of mid-tempo and slower ballads. Nevertheless, we only get so many songs from Sarah Macintosh every few years and just like that the experience had come to a close. I suppose it’s a good amount of time to fall in love with these new numbers, though. I’m not sure that Current hits the creative heights of her solo debut The Waiters, The Watchers, The Keepers, The Listeners, and Me, but it definitely is a lot easier to say out loud. Sarah Macintosh will definitely delight fans of acts like Feist and Bon Iver and fans of older Out of the Grey…you know…if they did worship music or something.
The main question I have of a worship project like this is whether songs like this will make it into the Sunday rotation as “stock worship” or if they’ll be played as special numbers.
Time will tell.