Reviewed by Tim Holden
Having spent most of the last decade working as part of Anthem Lights, Chad has a wealth of experience producing some of the best vocal interpretations of anything from mainstream pop to old hymns. Recently he has been increasing his solo output on YouTube and 'First' is a culmination of this exploration of faith-based songs that have touched and inspired him. The format is the tried and tested Anthem Lights formula - minimal piano or acoustic guitar backing, crisp clean vocals and a huge helping of harmonies. There are a selection of mashups of songs by Lauren Daigle, Newsboys, Casting Crowns, dc Talk and TobyMac which are well worked and seamless, giving a good feel of the original songs in a nice neat packages. However, it is the complete songs that work the best, and Chad has picked some of the best material released over the last few years with "What A Beautiful Name" (Hillsong Worship), "Even If" (MercyMe), "First" (Lauren Daigle), "Reckless Love" (Cory Asbury), "Hills And Valleys" (Tauren Wells) and "Starlight" (Bethel Music). The standout tracks are the purely vocal rendition of "Reckless Love", with an incredible depth given by Chad's harmonies, and a wonderful duet with his wife, Fallon, on "Starlight". A no brainer for the Anthem Lights fans out there and strongly recommended for anyone who wants to see how engaging music can be when pared back to the basics.
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