Come now and listen
Songs of the Saved, the latest in-house album from Emu, is one of their stronger offerings in recent memory. This album hits a nice balance between God-honouring craft and creativity in production, and provides a good feel of the composition for the listener possibly considering using the songs in their own church.
While mostly middle-of-the-road pop-rock and with an acoustic sound, the album mixes things up sonically in a couple of places, most notably on the Mike Begbie and Greg Cooper track “Christ is Victor”, which previously appeared on this year’s Emu-distributed album We Have Freedom. The addition of some upbeat dance-synth stylings and Coldplay-esque guitar helps it stand out from the rest of the album. It won’t be to everyone’s taste but in my opinion this version is superior to the earlier one.
A couple of updated hymns (“All I Am” and “More of You and Less of Me”) are also included, with the latter having an interesting lyrical theme and development worth singing and pondering as a lesson in both sanctification and lyrical craft.
However, the standout track on the album is the closer, penned by Nicky Chiswell and Greg Cooper. “Come Now and Pray” is itself a couple of years old and has been played at one or two conferences but frankly it deserves to be heard and played more widely. It is stunningly simple musically and structurally, and the soaring harmony of Cooper and Chiswell is the icing on the cake, making this a truly worthwhile commendation that’s well within the resources and capabilities of virtually any church music team.
The main criticism of the album is a relatively minor one: the weakest parts of the album are still adequate, but may not prove enticing or distinctive enough to incorporate into existing church set lists or the mix of potential new songs music leaders are eternally having to consider. However, there are a few songs that push the envelope a little, musically or lyrically, and at least half the album is well worth considering for use in your local church. A strong album that compares well to their other more recent releases.