Album Review :
Rush of Fools - We Once Were

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Artist: Rush of Fools
Title: We Once Were
Label: eOne Christian Music
Release Date: 9/27/11
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre


  1. We Once Were
  2. Come Find Me
  3. A Civil War
  4. Won’t Say Goodbye
  5. Grace Found Me
  6. You’re the Medicine
  7. End of Me
  8. No Other Love
  9. Beginning to End
  10. The Wrong Things
  11. Help Our Unbelief
  12. Inside and Outside

Rush Of Fools landed a Christian music deal back in 2007, producing a standout self-titled debut album, with singles ‘We All’, ‘Undo’ and ‘When Our Hearts Sing’. After their similarly successful sophomore album with its singles ‘Wonder of the World’ and ‘Never Far Away’, as well as their time away from the Christian music scene; the band are back with their third release, We Once Were, showcasing their rock side as they produce a more guitar-driven album full of lyrical themes that they had written during their time away from music. What has resulted is 12 tracks of truth and realisations as lead singer Wes Willis and the band discover that ‘…we have to trust that there’s a much bigger story going on…bigger than just a few songs…’ Through listening to the album numerous times, this is an album with plenty of musical experimentation and lyrical diversity. From ballads like ‘Inside and Outside’ and ‘A Civil War’ to rockers like ‘Come Find Me’; Rush of Fools have created an album not to be missed if you’re an fan of their first two albums.

Normally it is the singles that peaks the interest of the listener. In this case, it was the songs ‘No Other Love’, ‘You’re the Medicine’ and ‘A Civil War’ that have made an impression to me musically and lyrically, as I soak in the truths that Rush of Fools delve into. ‘No Other Love’ starts off with an acoustic and electric guitar riff with ‘wooh’ vocal moments as Wes sings about the love that comforts us whenever we need it. Alluding to the prodigal son’s father, or the shepherd of the lost sheep and the owner of the lost coin, Wes shows his intentions with the lyrics ‘…No other love looks beyond the things I have done that I’m not proud of…’ Featuring a potential ukulele, reminding me of Francesca Battistelli’s ‘This is the Stuff’, Wes reminds us that God never gives up on us, holding us close and showing us what we need to continuously be reminded of, His unending mercy and grace. ‘You’re the Medicine’ features a strong bass undertone as Wes boldly claims that ‘…anything that this world has for me, you can throw it all away…’ Reminding me of Paul’s bold assertions in Philippians 3:8 that ‘…I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…’; Wes courageously states that God is the medicine that we need in our trials and testing. With heavy guitars introduced in the chorus, this is for the rocker in us that wants to stand up and proclaim that Jesus is the answer. Finally; ‘A Civil War’ is a confronting track as Wes proclaims that sometimes we need to step back and see that we are fighting a war within us, and we need to pick and choose the battles that need to be fought. There is a tension inside of us as we struggle with everyday issues, and as this song shares that we need to give everything to the Lord; Wes shows us that we sometimes need to surrender even the life-changing things over to God, acknowledging that in our weakness, He is strong to pick up the pieces and carry us through the life that we lead.

‘Beginning to End’ is a straight-up worship song as Wes unveils his heart to surrender in praise as he proclaims above the dynamic electric guitars and big drum beats; that ‘…from beginning to end, God You reign…over time and space you stand, cos you remain sovereign over all the things I can’t control, and all the dreams I try to hold…’ Similar to MercyMe’s ‘You Reign’, Rush of Fools has produced one of my favourite songs from the underrated band, complete with guitar sliding sounds a la Third Day’s Mark Lee. Lead singles ‘Come Find Me’ and ‘Grace Found Me’ also add to the worship-pop section of the album as Wes declares with authority that God’s grace finds us every time we stray. With similar themes to the visual imagery of the shepherd leaving the 99 for the 1 sheep that is lost; these two singles showcase the whole theme of We Once Were, that we can’t be the same as we were before because Jesus has found us, His grace showering us even when we don’t deserve it. Showcasing some of the best electric guitar solos and balancing both electric and acoustic guitars in the songs, with not one overpowering the other, these two songs are certain highlights, with Wes letting the listeners know that ‘…Your grace found me, I thought I wasn’t breathing, my heart now sings…’ (‘Grace Found Me’).

‘The Wrong Things’ is a poignant song, about falling in love; with things that may harm us. Based upon Paul’s confession that what he wants to do, he doesn’t; and what he can’t stand, he’ll do it anyway; Rush of Fools create a setting with a lot of electric guitars and even a guitar solo with a slider; showing the listener that sometimes ‘…things I have [don’t]…last yet, they’re taking over everything that I want to be…’ There are things in our lives that will harm us physically, like drugs and alcohol, but Wes presents a sobering thought that ‘…sometimes it is good things we fall in love with that end up being the wrong things…if school or work becomes so consuming to you that it takes more of your time than your walk with God, it has potential to be an idol for you…’ A challenging song that speaks to the heart of our love for the things that may harm our relationship with Christ and our fellow man, well done Rush of Fools for this compelling track!

Through the rest of the album, Rush of Fools imparts many themes through their lyrical and musical arrangements. From giving up about caring about ourselves and surrendering to God (‘End of Me’), encouraging others that we shouldn’t let go of our dreams if they are God-breathed (‘Won’t Say Goodbye’) and reassuring ourselves that life isn’t over, that God is with us every step of the way (‘Inside and Outside’); it is the third single ‘Help our Unbelief’ that shows the band’s maturity in their writing. With similar themes to Leeland’s ‘While We Sing’, ‘Help our Unbelief’ starts with an organ as electric guitars are introduced at the 0:38 mark. As Wes shouts out ‘…my God why can’t we see that you have come to redeem Your children, bring us home, my God don’t let us be, but help our unbelief…’ we are moved as we realise that our faith needs action as we live out our lives as a reflection of Christ within us. A well produced song filled with a classical rock element, kudos to Wes and the band as they bring forward the issues of tragedies and how Christians ought to respond to them.

Overall: Rush of Fools have shown a vast improvement, with a sense of vulnerability as they proclaim with their might, that ‘…we can’t stay the same as we once were…’ (from ‘We Once Were’) With standouts like ‘A Civil War’, ‘Help our Unbelief’, ‘Come Find Me’ and ‘You’re the Medicine’, this is an album for fans of mikeschair or Sidewalk Prophets. A solid project compared to their earlier releases, as the band continues to develop, so has my anticipation grown for their fourth album! Kudos for Wes and the band, for an enjoyable collection of songs!

RIYL: Sidewalk Prophets, mikeschair, Sanctus Real, Sixteen Cities

Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3