Review

LABEL: BEC RECORDINGS/MARS HILL MUSIC
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 15, 2013

‘Sweet’. That would be my one-word review of Ghost Ship’s sophomore release The Good King. ‘Stoked’ – would fit as my initial reaction to band that had passed completely under my radar until about 3 weeks ago. ‘Seriously?’ I can hear you all say. ‘Yes!’ and here’s why…

For the past two and half years, a team of seven have been leading the new and privileged congregation of Mars Hill in downtown Seattle in worship. They call themselves ‘Ghost Ship’, a name rooted in the idea that we are vessels of the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost; a moniker inspired by the fact that we move and are motivated by His power. Cam Huxford and his colleagues have broken the mould, pushing the boundaries of praise and worship.

The album opens with the exquisite “Mediator”, a tantalising taste of the glories ahead. There is an exceptional attention to detail – a favourite moment of mine is the juxtaposition of the unhurried closing cry in “Son of David”, calling on Jesus to save us, and the rousing proclamation of Jesus’s majesty that begins the following track, “The Truth”.

The Good King exhibits an incredible quirkiness that quickly draws you in. No two tracks are the same; each is an individually crafted masterpiece. In a genre where music-by-numbers often goes unchallenged and tired formulas are frequently rehashed, it is refreshing to hear an eclectic mix of spectaculars guitar riffs, cathedral organ notes and tight rhythms wonderfully brought together for an optimal worship session.

Integral to the beauty of the work is its Biblical foundation. “Jude Doxology” is wonderful song of praise to the Holy Trinity, whilst “Orion” reminds us that our salvation comes only through Christ’s death and resurrection. The song-writing is scripture-inspired, instead of offering up empty platitudes; it demonstrates what true worship can be. “The Gospel” (for want of a better cliché) does what it says of the tin, clearly explains the gospel truth- one God, one mediator, one way to salvation.

Another testament to the incredible talent of the septet are the covers included on “The Good King”. While much of the album may not be immediately accessible to most churches for morning worship, the covers would make fantastic additions to all songbooks. They are fantastic examples of how to rejuvenate old favourites. “Holy, Holy, Holy” is simply remodelled, and devastatingly catchy – the glorious choral finale resplendent organ chords is stunning. The closing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” is another personal favourite, the ageless hymn transposed beautifully for a modern audience.

The Good King is a stellar album. I cannot emphasize it enough. Musically engaging, theologically whole and endlessly interesting, I haven’t heard any better albums for a long time. Do yourself a favour and get a copy – now!