the New Liturgical: the Brilliance offers a new liturgy on “Brother”

BrotherHaving spent this week considering the current growth pangs of the church, & the resurgence of a new liturgical movement, it only makes sense to spend a few days testing those waters, & maybe going for a swim.

ARTIST: the Brilliance
CD: Brother 
Label: Integrity Music
Release Date: 2/17/2015

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The Brilliance are the sound of mystery & peace.

A re-introduction of sorts, BROTHER by the Brilliance is a beautiful collection of re-recorded favorites which have already gained traction within the greater Body of Christ, + a few brand new songs. With obvious sonic tie-ins to their former band, Gungor – David’s vocals are almost a dead ringer for his brother Michael’s – stylistically, the Brilliance would sit well in a mix alongside bands like Bon Iver and Iron & Wine. That’s just to say, the Brilliance sound like mystery & peace.

I won’t lie: I love high energy music. I was first introduced to Jesus via Christian Metal & Hardcore, so that reveals my bent. As a worship pastor I am constantly seeking new, upbeat songs of praise. THIS IS NOT THAT. With all cards on the table let me say; I absolutely LOVE this release! It’s not often that 3 songs into a worship CD I have to pause the music, take a breath, & speak aloud, “Whoa.”

It’s not often that 3 songs into a worship CD I have to pause the music, take a breath, & speak aloud, “Whoa.”

The melodies are immediately inviting, & the production is crisp & open – at times I swear I can hear fingertips scraping the guitar strings – it’s a uniquely detailed mix, & as a audiophile, immediately gripping. Songs that are quiet & calms with slowly erupt into such intense energy, as drums explode, & swirling electric guitars seem to just creep in through the cracks in an attempt to overwhelm the melody, then – whoosh – back to the quiet. Cellos rise & fall – the instrumentation is a constant surprise, at times leaning post-rock or classical, next almost psychedelia. As I said, “Whoa.”

A few highlights; the title track, “Brother”, is simple – repetitive in the best sense – & friendly…like a favorite folk song from the late 60s. Timeless. As a horizontal song, this would be an excellent Call to Worship for many churches. “Now & at the Hour” is a heartfelt prayer, simple to sing, & play – a perfect sonic “Amen” to a time of corporate prayer – by the 2nd listen, I was fighting back tears. “Yahweh” isn’t something I would use on a Sunday, but is a fun song of personal worship – simultaneously delicate & deeply soulful. I could easily hear Copeland covering this. “Breathe” might have to be simplified for the average worship team, but would make a lovely special song, before hearing the Word read or preached. This one really feels like Gungor. Lastly, “Make us One” is challenging, with many surprising twists & turns – a call to set aside our judgements, & join together with the Body of Christ gathered. That said, there’s not a SINGLE BAD TRACK on here.

What’s most refreshing, the lyrics are Biblical, & often display ties to ancient prayers, & creeds of the faith. This is what Robert Webber was talking about when he wrote of “Ancient-Future Worship”. If this is what liturgical music can be, I can understand why some Evangelicals are finding a renewed connection to it.

I give BROTHER by the Brilliance 6 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.

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