Esterlyn – Call Out

By Scott.L on September-17-2010 | Filed under Reviews | Tags : , , , , , , , , , | Share

Esterlyn – Call Out
Score: 5/5Score: 5/5Score: 5/5Score: 5/5Score: 5/55
3.9 (7 votes)

Band: Esterlyn

Title: Call Out

Label: VSR

Release Date: July 27, 2010

Review By: Scott L

Tracklisting:

  1. Call Out
  2. Can’t Miss That
  3. Now You’re Found
  4. Freedom Is Here
  5. El Shaddai
  6. The Lord Is Good
  7. Treasure
  8. Esther

Having family that lives in other states is kinda the norm in our highly mobile society. Not that I’m in any way complaining about distant in-laws… but it certainly can make a family get-together a major shock to the system. Because no one lives a static existence. Everyone changes. One-time toddlers taking their first wobbly steps are suddenly transformed into real little people. Pesky tweens are now young adults that can actually participate in a meaningful conversation. And that favorite uncle who always acted so crazy, you know the one, is amazingly morphed into a respectable businessman with a wife and kids of his own. Time and distance can make for awkward reunions in even the closest of relationships. And that was the general feeling I got when I dropped this CD in for the first time. There was a certain familiarity there. I could identify who it was readily enough, but man-oh-man, had these boys grown up.

I first learned about Esterlyn, a 4-piece alt-rock band out of Boise, Idaho on this very website. Not long thereafter I tracked down their debut release ‘Lamps’. Having then discovered their previous incarnation as Grand Prize, I tracked down that CD as well. Shortly after that I had the opportunity to see them live at Creation Northwest. I’ll never forget that show. It wasn’t that the setting was breathtaking, although it was. It wasn’t that the stage was decorated with lamps or that the band was wearing tweed and polyester business attire in the blistering heat. What made that show stand out was the spirit that they so effortlessly seemed to project. You just knew without a doubt that these guys really did love God and that’s why they were there. They had come to worship and to lead others in doing the same.

This new 8-song release, aptly titled ‘Call Out’, very adeptly captures that same feel. As much as I loved ‘Lamps’, ‘Call Out’ is a giant step forward in every possible way. From the instrumentation, to the technical arrangement, and even to the overall message conveyed. Their sound has been refined to incorporate a tinge of pop into the mix that very succinctly compliments the underlying alt-rock vibe. The overall feel is still there, but it’s more foundational this time out. To be honest, some of the songs held an almost OneRepublic meets The Wrecking sorta sound which I found to be smoother on the ears. It has just enough polish to sparkle out of the speakers without coming across as gaudy and overdone.

I can see Esterlyn being bunched into the same general category as bands like Storyside:B and Telecast simply because, in the broadest sense, they fit… but they’re actually just as different as they are similar to today’s modern praise type bands. This goes back to a very distilled sound that doesn’t come across like just another run-of-the-mill CCM band cranked out to keep a label’s name on a Tuesday release date. This release contains eight pieces of this band’s heart. Bare and on display. And that’s what makes this CD so moving. This isn’t just about putting together some catchy tunes… it’s about something that these guys are passionate about. Musically, I’d say that Esterlyn would be right at home along side bands like The War and Between The Trees. At least stylistically.

Lyrically, Esterlyn is all about conveying gospel truths in accessible packages. I’m gonna say that they spent a good deal of time in their Bibles when they were putting this album together. Kind of a novel approach today. No songs about a movie they saw or their favorite TV show. No songs about a girlfriend that dumped them or about life in a tour bus. The messages here are positive and uplifting. It’s not all about mountaintop experiences, but it is all about living by faith and keeping your eyes on Jesus. Consider the song ‘The Lord Is Good’ which says, ‘I can see the Spirit move again / stirring hearts and calling us within / to a greater purpose than we’ve known / seeing this world with His eyes / the Lord is gracious and full of compassion / the Lord is good to all / slow to anger and great in mercy / the Lord is good to all’. Or how about ‘Now You’re Found’ which says, ‘when you’re feeling forgotten / on your own / when your soul is searching out / and your whole world’s turned around / when your faith is burning out / and love leaves you in doubt / and you know there’s something more / come to Me now / lay your burdens down / come rest in My arms / let My love abound / come to Me now / lay your burdens down / come rest in My arms / you were lost but now you’re found’. The songs are clear, passionate, and genuine. Each seems to build on the previous one and maintain momentum throughout the CD until it closes with the line ‘He knows your name’. That line alone is major food for thought to anyone going through a tough time.

The standout track for me was ‘Freedom Is Here’. This song is so infectious that it’s almost scary. Trying to escape it’s allure is an exercise in futility. But then, who’d want to escape it anyway? A close second was ‘El Shaddai’, and no, it’s not an Amy Grant cover tune. It’s funny because as I’m putting this review together, I realize that I could just go on and on about each song. They’re all unique in their own way and there really isn’t a downer in the bunch. That alone is a testament to just how good this release is.

Overall: Named after a precious little girl who herself is an amazing testimony of God’s profound grace and unending love, Esterlyn has managed to build on their previous efforts and release a stunning album. It’s not easy to capture the heart of worship in a song… let alone 8 songs, but these guys do it in style. I’ve never given a CD a perfect score in a review before… but here it is. This is simply not an album that anyone should pass up.

www.myspace.com/esterlyn

Esterlyn - Call Out, 3.9 out of 5 based on 7 ratings

Click here to list all the current reviews by Scott.L

16 Responses to 'Esterlyn – Call Out'

  1. Otto says:

    Man I miss your reviews we need more indie reviews, where can I contact you ?
    I used to send news about Metal and Hardcore/Post Hardcore bands to STEVE SLOAN, but I need to send Indie bands to you

  2. dacheat says:

    This is good stuff.

  3. Tim says:

    I might check this out. I have their first album and EP, which they gave away for free on Noisetrade.

  4. Hmmm, not sure I agree here. Far from perfect, IMO, but it’s definitely not bad.

  5. BBanet says:

    I think the “Freedom Is Here” cover (I’m assuming that Hillsong United originally recorded this) was enjoyable. :)

  6. I was actually surprised by this. I was initially disappointed by it being only 8 songs long but it ended up being one of the better worship albums I’ve heard in recent memory. Could’ve been a lot worse… like as bad as Sanctus Real’s new one was…

  7. a says:

    In my opinion, this is not a 10 out of 10. I mean that’s ridiculous. A 10 out of 10 should be album of the year or top 20 of a lifetime. I would review this record 7/10. It’s a good album. But a perfect score…? Maybe the writers are extremely biased. I often download these reviewed records (8/10 or higher) without listening to them for free on Zune Pass and am dissapointed so often. Does anyone else feel this way?

    • schlottermann says:

      Do we really have to do this with every review? It’s personal opinion and obviously Scott feels this album deserved a 10. More than one album a year is aloud to be THAT good. I knew this album would get a good review. I haven’t even heard it yet. But I’ve heard Esterlyn’s talent. They’ve got things together. Just listen to Lamps and Mending the Meaning. There’s great progression in their music. And it’s worshipful which makes it even better.

      Good review. I’ll get this when I can.

  8. Scott.L says:

    a – I appreciate your comments. Seriously. Opinions are funny like that… as ridiculous as they may seem at times… they allow people to see things from totally opposite perspectives. For me, this album really is a contender for AOTY. Not sure I’d go top 20 of a lifetime… but that wasn’t really my intention in giving it a 10. I think you’d agree that over the course of a lifetime, there could legitimately be more than 20 CDs that are worthy of a perfect 10 review score. I’ll admit that I probably came in a little biased, I’ve enjoyed their music in the past and I admit that I wanted this to be a great album. That said, I really try to do my best to look at each CD I review from a reader’s vantage point as well as from my own. But even then, I know that the result really will still be just my humble opinion. At any rate, even if it’s not worth a 10 in your eyes… or ears, I hope that you enjoy the album nonetheless. God bless.

    • tyler h says:

      a is probably 15 years old or something so his lifetime is probably a lot shorter than yours so far, Scott :)

      i like this album…i’d probably give it an 8 or 9 based on the scoring system here…but really any score anyone gives is going to get someone upset one way or the other…an esterlyn superfan might be upset that you didnt give it an 11

  9. a says:

    Just to clarify, I meant no controversy when writing my previous post. I did not mean to put Scott L. down by any means. I enjoy the site, news, and reviews quite a bit; even checking this site once or twice a day for the latest news on my favorite bands. However, I was simply trying to convey my humble suggestion as to what a “10” should be. A perfect record doesn’t exist. If it did, I believe you wouldn’t need to listen to anything else after that.

    As for Tyler H.’s age profiling, I have no comment other than that’s inaccurate and somewhat upsetting. I suppose he knows my race and hair color as well…

  10. Scott.L says:

    tyler – You lead with the knuckles… I like that. You need to move to Alaska and play some hockey.

    a – No worries, man. I’m guessing on the gender. :-) I didn’t take it as controversy or an insult. I only responded to let you know where I was coming from with the review. Having never given a perfect score to an album before, I thought long and hard over this one. I came to the conclusion that while I knew that not everyone would agree, that’s just the subjective nature of reviews, I was just touched in every aspect by this CD and I thought… that’s what I listen to music for.

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