Reviewed by Tom Lennie
I first heard Joel sing on the recording, 'Integreality' by the Canadian group, Capstone that he used to front. The strength of his vocals was impressive, as was the freshness of their wonderfully infectious, quirky acoustic-pop sound. That was over a decade ago, shortly after which time Capstone disbanded, then partially morphed into Six Days, whose six-song EP was favourably reviewed in CR. The group again changed their name - to Hewit - and they continued to record and tour. More recently Auge (pronounced "Ozhay"), won a deal with Integrity Music and his debut solo recording, 'On The Blue' was released in 2007. 'Invisible Things' is the follow-up, a fresh batch of self-penned songs, which, like his previous output, are generally directed to, or sung about his heavenly Father. Unlike his early offerings, however, and a radical departure from even his last album, Joel has moved away from a catchy pop-format to a moodier sound. The set opens with "Be Lifted", a praise anthem, which somehow fails to leave an impression. Several tracks are deliberately downbeat; pensive numbers in which Auge expresses his inner thoughts. Some work well - notably "Promises", "Ok" and "Show Your Love". Others are less effective, particularly the two closing, lyrically sparse tracks. What is arresting throughout is the ongoing experimentation with backing sounds - various keyboard, organ, xylophone and bell tones - a refreshing change from the standard drum and guitar format. Credit here is partly due to multi-instrumentalist Nathan Finochil, who also helped produce the set. This is an intriguing album and an engaging listen. It lacks immediate accessibility but it is a grower. Nevertheless, I still don't feel this recording sees Joel's distinguished vocals rise to their fullest potential.
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