Album Review :
Ian McIntosh - Alive

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Artist: Ian McIntosh

Title: Alive

Label: Come&Live!

Release Date: May 14, 2009

Reviewer: Sam


  1. Alive (an intro)
  2. Faithful
  3. What Does it Sound Like
  4. Flight
  5. Come Away
  6. Beautiful
  7. Always Good
  8. Light of Your Face
  9. Open Up The Heavens
  10. Heaven
  11. You Are Holy

Every year new bands are formed, artists tour around the country, and others disappear all together.  The vast majority of these artists have a tendency to begin and end in obscurity.  There are artists that deserve nationwide acclaim and get very little.  There are also artists who should have faded out long ago that are still receiving awards and constant play on the radio.  Ian McIntosh is one of the former.  I can’t recommend his record, Alive, enough!  It’s an album that should have been reviewed on IVM a long time ago.

From the dramatic opening of “Alive (an intro)” to the sweeping closing of “You Are Holy,” Alive is a record that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go.  Alive is a true album in that each song, while distinct, naturally transitions into the next.  Ian McIntosh has a penchant for creating atmospheric and heartfelt worship unlike any worship artist I’ve ever heard before.  Most worship artists (even indie worship artists) are best listened to when you are actively worshiping, praying, reading, etc.  However, Alive, is one of those records that literally draws you into a heart of worship almost involuntarily and doesn’t let you out.

Musically, McIntosh opts for the extremely atmospheric and it suits what he’s trying to do perfectly.  Electronic drums, synthesizers, guitars, piano, and resonant, honest vocals combine to create a sonic landscape that makes me think of, and homesick for, Heaven.  He combines elements of melodic electronica and indie rock into a sound that really has more the feel of a painting created by sound waves than a bunch of individual songs.  It’s music that will leave you wanting to do little else besides worship God and desiring to see the face of Jesus Christ.

The atmospheric sounds of this record are incredible.  The only negative thing I can say about it (since I feel like I should write something of a balanced review) is that on the first couple of listens it starts to feel repetitive by the 8th or 9th track.  However, the more you listen to it, the less this is so.  As it is a free download from Come&Live!, you should definitely head over there and download a copy of it.  You have nothing to lose and you may end up, like me, finding a new artist to add to your list of favorites.

It’s hard to pick out standout tracks, but there are three that stay in my head:  Faithful, Come Away, and Light of Your Face.

Overall: Alive is Ian McIntosh’s debut on Come&Live! and it’s an extremely strong one.  The way he works the piano and guitar backed by atmospheric synthesizers gives this record a unique feel that is unfortunately missing from much recorded worship music today and is a real tribute to our God and Savior. The fact that this album seems to be all but completely overlooked doesn’t do it justice.  I won’t hand out a score of 10 lightly but this is one record that I feel definitely earns it.  I highly recommend this record and am excited to see Ian McIntosh record new music in the future.

For fans of:  Mae, Deas Vail, Owl City, Sigur Ros, and Postal Service

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