The City Harmonic-My Thoughts(Album Review)...

I woke up this morning knowing that late last night I downloaded a new cd onto my Iphone. I could almost feel the hummm of a new set of songs waiting to be listened to drawing me in with promises of greatness. I am always hopeful. I am optimistic. I want music to be good, no, I want it to be great. So, after checking emails and eating a breakfast of coffee, I laced up my running shoes and headed out the door towards the 3 mile loop that would be the new musics landscape.

I had been told about a new band yesterday called "The City Harmonic." They are a group of guys who hail from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and they have an EP called "Introducing The City Harmonic" that was released November 2010.

I had a few thoughts about the record before I even placed the headphones in my ears. For starters, they are on the same record label(Kingsway) as the likes of Tim Hughes, Brenton Brown, and Matt Redman so I assumed that the songs would be congregational worship(the songs you sing in church). I also had concerns about it only being an EP(fewer songs than on a full length cd-in this case 6). I have seen record labels release EPs for artists that they don't entirely believe in, testing the waters and not fully committing to a full cd just in case the music doesn't catch(I have also seen many artists put out very successful EPs-for example Jon Foreman's 4 seasons EPs. So this doesn't mean EPs are bad but it was just the taste in my mouth when I first heard the cd length). I have also seen artists release EPs when they don't have enough good songs and they scrounge together the few so that they have something/anything to sell while out on the road. Without intending to, I carried these preconceived ideas outside and hit play.

Within 3 miles I had swung from laughter to tears and back again with the careful beckoning of this band. There is a pulse in this music. There is a brain in this music. There is a beating heart in this music. Each song took me one step closer to my Savior and they took me down a path that I am rarely led down. I have talked before about the infrequency of hearing music that speaks to me both spiritually and musically in my blog called Revelations & Future of Forestry. This EP, this band will now slide right into the folder that I will file away in my brain that houses those cds.

First let me talk to the music side. It is pretty obvious to me that there are really cool influences that color the songs on this cd. I can hear whispers of bands like Arcade Fire, Aqualung, One Republic, and maybe even a little Sufjan Stevens throughout the 6 songs but never did I think it was more than just that, whispers. The City Harmonic self-produced this cd and I am blown away by their creativity as well as their competence. There are many times when something would jump out at me creatively and I would find myself smiling like someone just surprised me with chocolate. Track 2 is called "Manifesto" is so stirring that I soon found that I was running far faster than my normal pace. They were leading on a journey that I didn't know I was waiting to take.

Next came the spiritual side. Let me show you the lyrics that brought the tears:

I Am

I am a man who built his house on sand I am a thief upon a cross I’m just like Judas, that sorry fool - who can’t be glad for what he’s got

Pre-Chorus That’s why I’m hanging on To the cross on which I’ve flung my hopes and dreams It’s by the grace of God I hang my head and sing

Chorus My God, You are good. You are great, You are love. I Am . . .

Verse 2 I am a man who has been bought by love. I am a man who sold his soul. I’m like the man, who when he found his pearl He gave up everything he owned.

Pre-Chorus That’s why I’m hanging on To the cross on which I’ve flung my hopes and dreams It’s by the grace of God I lift my hands and sing

Chorus My God, You are good. You are great, You are love. I Am . . .

Ending You are love, You are love, You are love, You are love

The visual of being a thief and flinging my hopes and dreams on the cross I am hanging onto while hanging my head and worshipping, pierced me, and then the visual of being the man bought by love and in response lifting my head and worshipping, filled me.

This is a cd that I want to talk to my friends about. This is a cd that I want people to buy. This is a band that I want to see succeed so that they can continue to make music that will take me directly to Jesus.

C. S. Lewis has a quote that says "In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets." I think there is something of this quote in our relationship with the Lord too. We can only see certain facets of the Lord through watching Him love on/work through others around us. We can see something new about Him when someone else speaks of their relationship with Him. This is what happened with this cd today. I saw my Savior through someone elses eyes and because of that today I know Him even better.

Now that makes for good music and I have been left wanting more. I'll just have to replay and replay this set of 6 songs until they release another cd that will be the soundtrack to another day of smiling/crying and running.

You can go buy the cd here:

Introducing The City Harmonic

Posted on January 31, 2011 and filed under Anything and Everything.