Music Review: Monument by Wild Harbors

Music Review: Monument by Wild Harbors

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Updated July 08, 2019
Music Review: Monument by Wild Harbors
Wild Harbors - House on Fire (acoustic)
Wild Harbors - Battle (Acoustic)

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Maryland-based husband/wife duo Wild Harbors are set to bow their highly anticipated full-length debut, Monument, March 15. Produced by Andrew Osenga (Laura Story, Caedmon’s Call), the alt-pop singer/songwriter collection features 10 story-driven tracks wrapped in memorable melodies and warm harmonies.

Monument is highlighted by the title-cut, a deeply personal anthem for Wild Harbors’ Chris and Jenna Badeker, reminding them of God’s guiding hand in every step of their journey.

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Monument by Wild Harbors
(Updated: July 08, 2019)
Overall rating 
Personal Rating 
It's a big step, putting aside a secure career and trusting the calling that God has put on your life. That's true for anyone who feels the draw to follow a plan set out by God which is away from the normal idea of 'work'. When life then gets hard, does it mean you made the wrong decision, or you heard God incorrectly? This is the choice that husband and wife Chris and Jenna Badeker made, to step out of their careers of the past decade and follow the path that they felt God was leading them on.

So what does happen when life gets tough and you're not sure the decision you have made is the right one? When you spend your time second-guessing what you have done when you thought you heard the voice of God that seemed so clear, but now seems a little cloudy? You take a page out of the Israelites book, you put up a monument in your life. When you hear the call, the first time and you seek God and you get a confirmation in Word and Spirit, you write it down, you raise a 'Monument'. We see the Israelites do this, at Gods command, time and time again, after miracles and victories, when they obeyed what God said they would often dig a well, rename a place or place a physical large stone, or stones, so generations to come would ask and the story would be passed on. The title track "Monument" is about those moments you can look back on and say God did that, and you look forward and say God has told us to do this so we're going to follow Him. This track sets the tone for the album with various highs and lows played out over the course of the tracks. The album is clearly rooted in a folk style, this comes through in the writing, but there is a pop edge which lifts it and gives it a modern and fresh feel. As a singing duo, their voices work really well together something that is very clear from the first track as they blend vocals throughout.

"We're Getting Better" starts with a few seconds of messing about before launching into what is essentially a love song about their relationship. As time has gone on and they have got to know each other's quirks and the way that they have developed an understanding and have encouraged the other to improve. It's a song that anyone who has been in this kind of loving relationship will instantly recognise. "House on Fire" is a personal track from Chris which is about the way we react to conflict. Sometimes when we are opposed, even in a loving and gentle way we push the people closest to us away. The picture here is that something on fire should be something that we run away from, but the flipside is that fire is used to refine us and make us better, fire or conflict isn't always a bad thing. I think many of us can relate to where Chris is coming from in this track! We get more insight into the fears and insecurities of relationship a little later on in the album with "Alone Together", there is the desire that their relationship would stay special and not lose the spark and degenerate into what they had seen in other peoples relationships before.

The one song that really touched me more than the others on this album is "Abigail". This is the story of a mother's prayers for her prematurely born twin daughters and the news from the Doctor that one of them wouldn't survive. Whether this touched me because I have sat with my wife as we went through the hardship of miscarriage, or whether it is because I have a daughter called Abigail, I don't know, or whether it is just a beautiful story of a mother's faith and thankfulness for the life of a little girl that she might not have known.

Life can pull us in all sorts of directions, lots of 'good' things that we take on and sometimes we take on far too much that we don't give anything the time or energy that it needs. "Come Clean" is about cutting back those things in our lives that clutter so we can get back to doing the things we love and are meant to do. That way we can be more comfortable and find our joy and purpose in life. "Water" brings us back to those hard-times that were mentioned at the beginning of the review. If we lose ourselves and our trust in God then we will drown in our circumstances when the dark times come, but all the water in the ocean can't drown you unless you let it in. This is a brilliant picture taken from a quote by Eugene Peterson and an incredibly uplifting track. "Battle" also focuses on the circumstances of life, but this isn't the physical things we face or go through, but the spiritual battle for our souls, we need to remember that this fight is real and the whole armour of God is something we have to protect and fight. The battle isn't just ours though, because there is a great picture of our Lord fighting for us as well!

Another beautiful track on this release is the acoustic "Ballad of Wallace and Jessie" which recounts the story of the disaster of the Titanic sinking. There is a legend that a little orphan girl in Scotland (Jessie) who had a premonition of the ship sinking and the band led by Wallace Hartley playing as the passengers fled to the lifeboats. This song is about the sacrifice of those musicians who played, literally sacrificing themselves for the good of the passengers and crew. This is something that I felt was represented brilliantly in the old film of the disaster called "A Night To Remember", it's one thing I couldn't understand for many years - why would they sacrifice themselves like that? This song explains that it was to soothe and calm the people as much as they were able.

The album finishes off with an electric sounding "Tomorrow Morning" which is something a little different for this album. The sound and sum up the lyrics of daring to do something different and not to allow you to talk yourself out of doing things that you feel you should do. It's about making the changes, making the stand in our lives, and not putting it off. Don't let the fear of failure overcome you! Halfway through this track, the style loosens up and it feels like a completely different sound in the same song.

This album has a lot to say about love, life, faith and daring to walk out what God is telling you to do and trusting Him to fill in the bits that you can't! If you are on the edge of a choice where God is asking you to do something then look to Him and if you're sure it's Him you are listening to, He will keep you and bring you to where you should be. One thing I am trying to remember is that God is faithful in every moment and every choice - even when we don't hear right or we deliberately choose something else, God will make it all work together for our good!

This is a couple that has a brilliant dynamic together. The writing, playing and vocals done as a couple really work well. There is a good strong positive message throughout and this album made me sit up and listen and pay attention through certain parts, sometimes moving ("Abigail") and sometimes challenging ("Tomorrow Morning") but always with a great vocal and my toes tapping all the way through!

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