Review: Jesus Culture – Come Away

As the name suggests, Jesus Culture is a lot more than just a musical outfit. In fact, I don’t think you could even say that Jesus Culture is a band or that the music they release are albums so much as they are a revival movement that is blessing the world with a growing catalogue of prayers set to a modern soundscape. The music, the atmosphere and the revival spirit that has motivated this collective from the left coast is apparent throughout the 10 songs on Come Away.

Recorded live at the Jesus Culture Encounter Conference in Redding, Cal., earlier this year, Come Away features the songs and vocal talents of worship leaders Chris Quilala, Kim Walker-Smith, a backing band of talented musicians and the sounds of an engaged crowd.

Since the songs are more about bringing people into the presence of God, there isn’t a lot of attention paid to keeping songs in the three-to-four minute range of most packaged music. There isn’t a song shorter than six minutes and the total running time would max out a typical CD, but I only realized it was that long after looking it up for the purposes of this review. Suffice it to say, the music keeps your interest as it envelopes you in the soundscape of soaring anthemic praises to the God above.

Like all good songs for corporate worship the words are easy to pick up and straightforward in message and tone. As a believer, it’s hard not to get goosebumps to the refrain “I want to know you let your spirit overwhelm me, let your presence overtake my heart,” in “I Want to Know You” or the simple refrain of “let it rain, let it rain, open the floodgates of heaven,” in “Let It Rain.”

If I were to have one complaint, it’s probably one that reveals my more conservative church upbringing. On several of the songs, vocalist Kim Walker-Smith has these tiny bursts of laughter that are presumably part of the joyful way in which she worships. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s one more example of the raw and honest feel of the recording. It’s just distracting to me in a similar way Rita Springer‘s vocal stylings distracted me when I once attended a worship service she was leading.

Otherwise, the individual stylings of the worship leaders and musicians get easily lost in the beauty of the music, the words and the choir of voices singing along. No recording will ever be able to capture the energy, the passion and the beauty of intensely honest corporate worship, but this one comes pretty close.

A complimentary review copy of this album was provided.

Purchase Come Away on iTunes.

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