I love the IDEA of concept albums… and sometimes it really works (Jars of Clay presents: the Shelter is a great example of this… ) but sometimes the concept IDEA can over power the music so it’s a fine balance, between the thought and the music behind it. So I started listening to this album with skepticism, and I was left pleasantly surprised.
Basically the concept of this album is ‘HOPE’ or as another commentator put it “the feeling that events will turn out for the best”
I found this album while searching for songs that would provide a soundtrack to those living in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake. I was searching for songs of hope… not the kind of hope that people ‘just know’ – the head knowledge… I was hunting for songs that were about hope from people who have experienced hopelessness… and discovered the grace that comes in these times.
Lead singer Mark Stuart and bassist Will McGinnis both from Audio Adrenaline, formed the group after talking to people around a camp fire and discovering that their stories of hope through turmoil were being echoed from others also – and the more they talked to other people the more they discovered that others had similar stories.
And so from that spark Know Hope Collective was born.
Now lets get down to the actual album itself… It was publicized as a “this ground-breaking initiative combining worship music with stories of hope and inspiration” personally I’m not sure of that description- I just think that it’s a really great idea. To often there are ‘worship’ albums with church in mind… or ‘secular’ focused albums with the lost in mind… An album that combines what we do in church and what happens in our lives (both good and bad) is what makes an album ‘real’… and I guess makes it more of a ‘worship’ album in doing so.
Almost half the albums you may have heard before… “Ocean Floor”, “The Good Life” and “Hands and Feet” were previously released on Audio Adrenaline albums, but these are new fresh cut back versions… the same treatment has been given to “Build us back” that was a song co-written by Mark Stuart and ended up on the latest Newsboys album ‘Born again’. All of these remade songs are tastefully done… however I wonder with so many of them already known are they a distraction from the flow of the album… Do they fit with the theme? Yes… Do they enhance the story process? I’m still not sure… but they are great songs (Especially ‘Build us back’ a personal favourite of mine in light of the recent earthquakes in New Zealand)
The album is a real, back to basics album… almost acoustic in feel… almost live… it’s music that draws you in. It’s like coming to sit at the feet of an old story teller who draws you close and whispers “there is hope even in brokenness… and this is how I know”.
Drawing from Psalm 23 the first single ‘Attention’ Mark begins the album with these words…
“You call me here from all the things I’m chasing. You bring me to this place to lie down. You pull me from the wars I’ve been waging and remind me there’s a table set for us. Exhale, shut my eyes, let me slow down and be still. Speak. You have my attention, Lord.”
If you’re in the middle of turmoil in your life… if you’re not sure of your future… then listen to this album… listen to the stories of others who have been were you are… but more importantly find out why they KNOW that there is hope.