Album Review :
Lovelite - Nearness

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Band: Lovelite
Title: Nearness
Label: Come&Live
Release Date: 10/5/2010
Reviewer: Joshua Hedlund

Tracklisting:

  1. Apathy
  2. Brevity
  3. Ambition
  4. Nearness
  5. Invisible One
  6. I Belong
  7. Finally Free
  8. Perihelion

I think this husband and wife team likes Europe. Usually when I name-drop Coldplay it’s to illustrate that large, shiny rock anthem sound they’ve been disseminating lately, but Lovelite reminds me at times of that older, softer almost-jazzy Coldplay with its slow, lush guitar riffs (especially on “I Belong”). And that’s just one tip of this continent. Andrew Polfer’s vocals, while still in the upper ranges, are less lofty falsetto and more like a Bono/Muse wailing. Yet when he rings out a literary, worshippy line like “You cannot be moved, eclipsing all of time,” maybe it feels more like Delirious.

But, hey, that’s still all from Europe, right? Throw in some crazy modulating synths and ambiance (is that some Sigur Ros hiding under the Euro-pop?) along with the various percussive highlights and you’ve got some weird, unconventional instrumentation. It’s not my favorite cup of tea, but it’s not at all unpleasant, and it really grows with repeated listens. It’s hard to pin down yet still very accessible through both the uptempo opening tracks and the slow, cleansing closers. The ethereal layered worship could recall The Glorious Unseen on this side of the Atlantic, but it doesn’t feel quite as heavy, and it’s also frequently faster and more energetic – maybe somewhere in the sonic neighborhood of Ian McIntosh but with even more textures on the keyboards.

Jen’s vocals add dimension to the harmonies, and sometimes also add a soothing aural layer to the instrumental arrangements. She takes the lead on the ambient title track, and her soft delivery is a fitting complement to her husband’s passionate croons, both of them feeling right at home with the varying musical paths. The lyrics are sincere calls of praise and surrender that mostly steer clear of clich├ęs. “Invisible One” declares, “You, who fashioned the world, Invisible One, with visible love.”

Overall: Maybe no one else is doing worship quite like this, and at the very least it’s further proof of Come&Live’s commitment to ministry as opposed to any specific kind of sound. With eight tracks spanning 33 minutes, I’m not sure if this is trying to be a long EP or a short full-length, but this release is definitely worth a listen. Even in the crowded, oversaturated worship market of the last decade, this couple has crafted a unique and heartfelt sound.