Album Review :
Elizabeth South - Just a Prayer Away EP

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Artist: Elizabeth South
Title: Just a Prayer Away EP
Label: independent
Release Date: 7/17/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre

Tracklisting:

  1. Just a Prayer Away
  2. O Breath of Life
  3. I Still Believe
  4. There is Hope
  5. Our God

Since releasing her second album Do it Afraid in November 2011, Elizabeth South has been able to bring listeners into her heartfelt melodies, from the made-for-radio guitar driven song of ‘I Will Trust You’ and the electronic dance rhythm of ‘Don’t Give Up’, as well as the title track that reminds listeners to plough through decisions, even in the midst of fear and uncertainty because of Christ beside us (‘Do it Afraid’). Releasing her brand-new EP in July 2012, featuring some songs over the years of her music ministry that haven’t been released, these 5 tracks filled with modern piano-pop genre influences is a certain must if you have enjoyed her previous albums (The Mysteries of Our Minds, Do It Afraid), giving listeners a hopeful reassurance that ‘…You are not very far, You’re just a prayer away from me…’ (‘Just A Prayer Away’). With these songs able to provide some comfort, solace and hope during times of difficulty and trials, Just a Prayer Away gives us the confidence to walk firmly in Christ, always reminded of His promise as we cling onto it- the hope and power in His name and the words He has spoken to us in years gone by and His promises for us in years to come.

‘Just A Prayer Away’ is the first song on the EP, and right from first lyric, listeners are able to relate amidst the strong piano-driven musical focus, as Elizabeth cries out ‘…my God, my God, have You forsaken me, I need You now, You seem so far from me…’ Many Biblical characters have gone through some doubt that may be similar to things that many people are experiencing around the world- understanding and reconciling how God can feel far when He has promised to be near to us during the circumstances when we need Him the most. Though personally I may not be able to answer the question ‘why’, I know that if God promises us something, He will deliver. The thoughts of abandonment, forsakenness and a hopeless attitude aren’t from Christ, and through this song, we are able to witness that God is always ready, willing and able to listen to us through prayer. We can tell Him our hurts, fears, troubles and secrets as we lean on Him for inspiration through our difficulties as we ‘…trust that all You do is good…’ Well done Elizabeth for this gripping and emotional melody of offering our prayers to the God that will always hear and comfort us in the midst of the storm.

Throughout the rest of the album, Elizabeth has picked out some of her songs that she has written over the years, as well as playing a melody to an old hymn-like poem as well as singing a worship cover. ‘O Breath of Life’ is a traditional hymn written and sung primary within the united Methodist churches, and reminds us of the unending and overflowing life that Christ continuously gives. As we continue to listen to the repeated refrain ‘…o breath of life sweep through, fill us with life and power, oh wind of God blow through, meet us in this hour…’, we are continuously met with the comfort and realisation of God’s life-giving power, and how no matter where we are and what circumstance we’re in, Christ is able to renew us whenever we call upon His name! ‘There is Hope’ starts off with an electric guitar riff coupled with an acoustic guitar and a strong piano refrain as Elizabeth cries out ‘…there is hope in Your name, You’re the only one who really brings change…’ and though only 3:04, the anthemic build is nothing but extraordinary as Elizabeth gives reassurance, that we can truly and trustingly place our hope in Christ and Christ alone. ‘I Still Believe’ is a love and devotion song to God and is a great addition to a album that has a theme of continuously reminding ourselves our own identity in Christ and how ‘…I’ll still believe in You even when there’s trouble, when the rain comes pouring in…’ But the real gem of the EP is the last track, ‘Our God’. Not to be confused with Chris Tomlin’s anthem circling the globe in popularity, Elizabeth’s song of the same name is just as meaningful, as we realise how great God is, and how He is ‘…awesome in splendour, mighty to save, all authorities and powers fall at the sound of Your name…’ Starting off with a piano introduction, the song quickly rises into an anthem of praise and offering our thanks and gratitude, with Elizabeth displaying some of her finest vocal work yet. A song that is ought to be captured by churches soon, well done Elizabeth for such a great song full of dynamism and poignancy!

Overall: With such an enthusiastic voice and energetic charisma shown through her past songs and music videos, Elizabeth’s new EP Just a Prayer Away is no different. From hymns to worship songs to reflective piano-heavy melodies, these five songs have been a unique worshipping experience as I am humbled at how Christ sees me and how He is always near to us. A teaser for her brand-new album I Love You in January 2013; these 5 songs are some of the most underrated melodies of the year as I sing along with Elizabeth, proclaiming that ‘…great are Your wonders, measures untold, vast and unbounded, our living hope…’ (‘Our God’). Well done Elizabeth for such a compelling and inspiring EP. Can’t wait for the next one in a few months!

RIYL: Jaci Velasquez, Rebecca St. James, Natalie Grant, Francesca Battistelli

Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3

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