There are times when the opening refrains of an album promise great things to come. The first time I popped in Canadian worship artist Joel AugĂ©âs debut solo album On the Blue an irrepressible grin took possession of my face. The howling love song composed to Jesus - "So Deep in Love" - captured my heart, and promised a great album â a promise that has largely been fulfilled.
Far from being a newcomer to Christian music, AugĂ© has been performing and recording since 1999 with other bands. His debut album reflects his calling as worship leading, offering up what he calls âvertically inspiredâ songs â straight from his heart to Godâs. With the majority of the offerings on the album flowing from his own pen, the blending of straight-up praise and worship songs is carefully enhanced by the frequently sparse acoustic accompaniment of each work.
AugĂ© terms his style âart-rockâ â Iâll admit that Iâm not familiar with the label, but Iâm impressed with what he does. Strong folk influences are felt throughout with his simple guitar picking and rhythmic cadences. However, punchy, upbeat tunes with electric guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion are also present making up the backdrop for the rock-inflected songs.
Itâs hard to pick favorites from the disc; nearly each song is excellent, though some suffer from awkward or seemingly irrelevant lyrical phrases at times. While listening to the disc my husband even mentioned periods where the lyrics werenât as strong as they could have been. Hopefully as AugĂ© matures in his song writing these slight glitches will be resolved. The overall strength of the album clearly overwhelms these âoffâ moments.
Like most worship albums, the first half of the album is geared towards the upbeat, rocking songs of straight-up praise. âSo Deep In Loveâ is a clear winner, while âEven the Rocksâ evokes images of irrepressible worship and ties in with scriptural images. âEvery Heartâ casts a vision for the time when weâll all surround the fallen and risen Lamb in singing His praises â beautiful.