Prior to 2015’s stunning Into the Sea, Attalus was a fairly unknown. Fronted by Seth Davey, vocalist, pianist, and lyricist, this Facedown debut made plenty best-of-the-year lists. Though Davey has since amicably parted with the band, he has nonetheless kept up with musical endeavors which come to fruition in his debut solo album, Till You’re All I See.
While this isn’t an Attalus record by any means, it’s hard to overlook the common elements. Davey again brings lyrical brilliance, this time in a more bare and vulnerable manner with naught more than piano to complement his vocals.
Take, for instance, Glorious Disgrace:
Without Your breath in my lungs
Without Your words on my tongue
Without Your voice speaking all things.
Without Your blood in my heart
Without Your cross as my mark
Without Your love I am nothing.
As conveyed by these lyrics, this is a worship album. However, the lyrical depth and more classical piano melodies make the songs feel more like hymns and you’d be hard-pressed to find a recent worship album that falls in the same vein.
With that in mind, this is definitely a lyrically-driven album. Thirty Years and Counting is yet another example of this:
I raise my voice and cry “Oh God, You have my heart”
the same voice I use to curse the things You’ve made
I raise my hands and cry with passion “How great Thou art”
the same hands that fashioned idols yesterday
and You’re not fooled
You see how pitiful my heart is
but You still love regardless
Let Me Behold You is a personal favorite. Musically, it’s a bit more familiar and more akin to what you might find on an Attalus song.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus fits perfectly in the mix of the originals (which again, feel much like hymns).
Silver Linings, one of several instrumental tracks scattered throughout the album, brings things to a close. It’s a dramatic piece, moving between jazz, classical, and maybe even a bit of filmscore.
However, as much as I want to love this album, I just can’t. Again, this album deviates from modern convention. There are no Vanessa Carlton or Coldplay-esque piano hooks to be found. The humility is certainly commendable and Davey is a talented pianist, but the album tends to feel, I regrettably confess, boring at times. While there are many great lyrical moments, there are multiple songs built on the repetition of similar phrases as entire blocks. It only becomes problematic when it becomes a noticeable pattern. Lastly, I can’t help but feel like the album would overcome a lot of its drawbacks if there were even a few additional elements added here and there; some subtle strings or acoustic percussion would definitely add some variety to the mix.
While I have a great deal of respect for Seth as an artist, I can simply only think I’m not the target audience for this album. I nonetheless respect the lyrical truths therein and encourage you to listen below.