STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 148999-21641 LABEL: Elevation ELE2050D FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2014-03-11 RRP: £4.99
Reviewed by Danny McMartin
Coming off the back of a top 10 album Jake has delivered a well-produced release that is able to sit alongside its Christian rock contemporaries. Equipped with a vocal style similar to that of The Black Crows and Nickelback Jake's gritty tones are continually effective on songs which are a healthy balance between more reflective tracks and the energy-packed anthems that could be written for stadia. Hamilton's classic rock edge is overt with openers "Behold God Is Great" followed by "I Love Your Presence". The title track is a piano-based song that gives time to meditate in a more pure worship fashion. The guitars on "Just Beyond The Breaking" are reminiscent of Led Zeppelin's "Babe I'm Going To Leave You". "The Father's Song" continues a stripped back calming trend that would be apt for a soundtrack on your next road trip, echoing "Heavens melody, open up in me, set my heart to see, holy holy", demonstrating the more sincere and central message that Hamilton is inspired to communicate. "Never Let Me Down" is the best place to snap shot 'Beautiful Rider' with its gospel undertones, blues running through its veins and vulnerable vocals while having an overall sense of celebration. Possibly not quite up to the level of his best Jesus Culture recordings, this is still a powerful album from a veteran Christian communicator.
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Recording with his band as Jake Hamilton and the Sound, the former Jesus Culture Music artist’s sound on his latest album Beautiful Rider is an anomaly compared to the rest of the modern worship scene.
Aside from undeniably vertical lyrics, Beautiful Rider is more akin to a melodic blend between Jack White and the Foo Fighters with everything from the classic rock riffs of Led Zeppelin, to the vivid storytelling of Bob Dylan, plus the old time gospel flavour of Mavis Staples.
"The church sometimes creates definitions as to what's Christian and not based on style, and as a result, they've handed the enemy these styles and said 'go for it'," observes Hamilton. "There was a time when Kurt Cobain was singing Come As You Are to a broken, hurting and disenfranchised generation, but it's the church that should be telling people to come exactly how they are - broken, dirty and dying, because Jesus can save them."