Brian Wurzell, the Worship Arts Director at Hillside Community Church inRancho Cucamonga, CA (formerly at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Chandler, AZ), has delivered to us a refreshingly unique, modern rock worship album. GRACE OCEAN subtly tips its hat to indie-rock bands like Pedro the Lion and Starfler 59, while never becoming inaccessible.
Obvious corporate highlights (take note, fellow worship leaders) are the hook-laden title track, which is pure ear candy (Can a “worship song” also be “ear candy”? I guess so. See exhibit A: “Grace Ocean”), and the mid-tempo ballad “Great Redeemer” – a prayer that God would “take our weakness and show Yourself strong”. If you’re downloading individual tracks for a iTunes playlist, however, don’t miss other highlights, “Sing” and the very indie-rock inspired “Floodgates”. Honestly, though, I’d suggest downloaded the whole lot of them – there are no stinkers here, folks.
Another notable are the multiple, atmospheric instrumentals, which bring to mind the spinning, textured sounds of All the Bright Lights, and at times even David Gilmour’s instrumental work. Sadly, most worship folk most likely have no idea who either of those are.
So, his take on “Father’s World” didn’t really connect with me: I never was a bit fan of the original, so I won’t hold that against him.
Over all, GRACE OCEAN is a fresh approach to a familiar genre, and currently one of my wife & I’s favorite worship CDs. Download the songs “Grace Ocean” and “Great Redeemer” straight away, then let me know what YOU think.