Album Review :
The Ember Days - Finger Painting EP

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Band: The Ember Days
Title: Finger Painting EP
Label: Come&Live
Release Date: 9/7/2010
Reviewer: Joshua Hedlund


  1. Hope
  2. It Is Well
  3. Rest
  4. Finger Painting
  5. Simple Song

On this latest release these New Zealand worshippers sound like Explosions In The Sky infused with a bit of Jesus, complete with those constant, dripping, echoing guitar riffs and those soothing build-ups fueled by those rat-a-tat snare rhythms and lazy cymbal rolls. “Hope” sounds like a typical intro track as it slowly builds, but as it lasts over four minutes it doesn’t leave you hanging like most standard teaser intros.

Janell Belcher’s vocals are added on the loosely hymn-inspired “It Is Well,” and the atmospheric quality is reminiscent of Brooke Fraser singing with Hillsong United: I am but a child in the hands of my Lord / He carries me through rushing rivers, takes me home / When I cannot see, will my faith sustain? / I will find my strength in your love, oh, in your love. The tender track is perfect for kneeling or resting in worship.

“Rest” is more of an Explosions In The Sky type instrumental, although it includes some piano and light vocals that give it additional weight. The driving settles down again to smoothly transition into the 11-minute title track, where the bass guitar takes the previous melodic line as the rest of the instruments slowly reemerge on top of it and gradually increase in volume and density. The worshipful engine finally reaches full throttle for a few minutes before the expected decrescendo, and you can even hear a few strings contributing their presence.

These strings are also felt on the closer “Simple Song,” which packs some energy into its more traditional song structure. It includes a giant choir repeatedly singing “Hallelujah we praise You, Hallelujah.” It’s almost as if the band hopes you have been refreshed enough by the peaceful numbers that you can respond with a more energetic release of praise.

Overall: Some may find the up-and-down movements rather predictable, but the patient execution is solid. Since The Ember Days are with the ministry-oriented Come&Live, giving away these five tracks for free, they probably just want you to use this to quietly worship or pray while relaxing (or falling asleep) in God’s presence, and for that it is more than sufficient. As The Ember Days keep refining their sound and releasing their passion, we can only hope that a full-length album will soon be forthcoming.