Album Review :
Trembling Hearts - Trembling Hearts EP
Artist: Trembling Hearts
Title: Trembling Hearts EP
Release Date: 1/31/14
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Lord of My Heart
- Hear our Songs
- My Home
- For Your Light
‘…The definition of trembling is to shake, to shudder, to quake – and this could be because of fear or even excitement or anticipation. All of these definitions are meaningful for what we do and that’s why trembling was chosen because it works on many levels. We, as worshipers, worship God with a holy fear or reverence and we worship with excitement and anticipation of the returning King… We don’t take this lightly. We worship with our lives, we worship with our songs and we worship with Trembling Hearts…’ A new worship band, Trembling Hearts have released their first self-titled EP via noisetrade, and while it can be very daunting and sometimes plain confusing about whether to invest in a new artist (of any genre) when they are untried, untested and unknown; this worship group with similar musical leanings to The Ember Days, All Sons and Daughters and Phil Wickham, have crafted an EP full of rich moments of poignancy as each track is a great reminder of our own praise and reverence to a God who deserves nothing less. With the band consisting primarily of Blake Thornell and Shanna Scrimpshire on vocals, guitars and vocals respectively; Trembling Hearts remind us through these 5 tracks that as we tremble and fall before the Lord in reverence, His name is lifted up and we are able to see the powerful works of Christ in the lives that we lead each day. With easy-to-learn songs for the church, and an infusion of pop, rock, CCM, worship, and a splash of country throughout these songs that can easily be right at home on a radio station like K-Love or The Joy FM; both Blake and Shanna have given us an EP that’s worthy of listening to, if you enjoy modern guitar driven worship with a country edge. With Blake sounding like an infusion of Blake from Finding Favour, Rhett Walker and Phil Wickham; these melodies are some of the most heartfelt worship songs I’ve heard within 2014 so far!
The first song on the album, ‘Lord of My Heart’ is a moment of emotion, heartfelt praise and clarity, as both Blake and Shanna give us great harmonies as we are reminded that God is the Lord of our hearts- seeing our hearts desire and being able to give us the things we need, and if they correlate with the things we want, then that’s great as well. With light electric guitars and a powerful southern gospel singing accent by Blake, ‘Lord of My Heart’ challenges us to sing along with Blake and really mean the words when he cries out that ‘…You reign on your throne, I crown You alone, forever, You’re the Lord of my heart…’ With hope and emotion carried on the words sung on this first track, Trembling Hearts certainly give us something to tremble about as we hopefully are impacted by this first track on the 5 song EP. With sound biblical principles like us not being separated from God, and the fact that that nothing can take away the love that Christ has for us, is what makes this song appealing, and will be a great fit for Sunday worship- not too sophisticated and not too superficial, but with just the right about of musical ingenuity and moments of anthemic atmosphere as well as reflective sections where we just sit and marvel at the Lord who has hopefully captured our hearts and compelled us to do something more with them than what we were doing before God was in us. A nearly 7 minute track, ‘Lift’ starts off with a unique electric guitar plucking that lasts for over a minute to set the scene where lyrics and heartfelt singing is emphasised much more than music. And while repetition of the chorus in any other song would probably make it sound monotonous and boring, ‘Lift’ uses the repetition of the chorus to build up the song musically, entering in guitars, keyboards and drums and building up a moment of free worship where both Blake and Shanna invite us to fall before the Lord and lift up His praises- a space is created for us to worship, and whether we actually sing the words to ‘Lift’ or not, it doesn’t matter. This song, if it was Hillsong or Planetshakers, would be boring for me if it was 7 minutes long, but Trembling Hearts manage to keep this song interesting, and while it does take a while for the melody to become the anthem that it is, they have managed to keep an indie worship feel and remind us that gradually progressing the music from soft to loud is a great technique, to bring people into worship slowly, and to launch into a moment of collective declaration once everyone is hopefully in the worshipping mood. With both ‘Lift’ and ‘Lord of My Heart’ being some of my favourite songs on the EP, Trembling Hearts ought to be commended for a great start to a song collection worthy enough to be listened to if you enjoy worship, especially indie worship.
Throughout the rest of the album, both Blake and Shanna give us more melodies fit for the church to sing as both Blake and Shanna deliver great harmonies and heartfelt songs about surrender, declaration, hope and encouragement. At around 3 and a half minutes, the electric guitar driven ‘Hear Our Songs’ is a refreshing moment where both singers lift up their voices in this upbeat song, declaring their praises to the Lord, that ‘…Father God, Spirit and Son, You are holy three in one, hear our songs, all praise belongs To You…’ And though the shortest track on an otherwise long-ish album (minus this track, the average length of the tracks are around 5-6 minutes each), ‘Hear Our Songs’ is a call for us to reflect upon our own songs for Jesus, and what we are singing to Him when we worship. Also delving into themes of longing to be a light for Jesus and being a shining witness for God’s glory and our own salvation (‘For Your Light’), it is the fourth track ‘Home’ that is possibly one of the most vulnerable and emotive songs on this debut album. Trembling Hearts present this 6 minute song with reflective notes and an acoustic guitar and keyboard background to emphasise the poignancy that’s been built around the lyrics of the song, and as we focus and invest in the moments of the melody where we hear a proclamation of ‘…God, I stand in You alone, in Your grace I make my home, Your presence is my all, You are my home…’, we (at least myself) am able to relax and enjoy as both Blake and Shanna give us one of the most worshipful songs of the year (and a definite in my book to be in Sunday services, sooner rather than later). With this album possibly one of the most underrated in 2014 so far (and also the group that I’m sure many people will not know about by the time 2014 ends); ‘Home’ is a great highlight of mine, and I’m sure a hopeful highlight as listeners hear this compelling 5 song EP!
Overall: Trembling Hearts are a great band to listen to if you love worship, and to a greater extent, indie worship (like artists like The Sonflowerz, The Ember Days, Luminous City and Coia). With fresh songs for both the church and individual reflection, this group from Nashville, Tennessee (isn’t that where most Christian artists are based/are from?) has something great to deliver in these worship anthems, that are destined to become some of the most powerful indie Christian worship songs of the year. With hope and heart, emotion and encouragement, Trembling Hearts, with their unique album cover (seriously, whenever I stare at the cover, I feel like the artwork is moving- very good effects!), have given us such a well thought out and well-choreographed album that is certain to be on my top 10 EP’s list when this year comes to an end. Well done to both Blake and Shanna, and the rest of the band, for reminding us that ‘…You’re a fortress, You are strong, when I am weak your power goes on and on and on and on and on…’ (‘Home’).
RIYL: The Sonflowerz, The Ember Days, Coia, Luminous City, All Sons and Daughters
Buy the Album: noisetrade/iTunes/Amazon mp3