Music Review: Separation...Is Just Illusion by Chris Roe

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Updated March 05, 2019
 
7.5
 
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SeparationIllusion

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£6.21 (Amazon)

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Chris Roe has released his new album "Separation...is Just Illusion" available on all good streaming platforms and to buy from the links.

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Separation...is Just Illusion by Chris Roe
Overall rating 
 
7.5
Vocals 
 
7.0
Lyrics 
 
9.0
Originality 
 
9.0
Value 
 
7.0
Personal Rating 
 
6.0
We are all used to pre-packaged worship music where we know exactly what we are going to get, depending of course on which label is applied to it. So I love it when I get albums of worship music that are a little different and this album from Chris Roe makes it two-on-the-bounce after Legend Ozora's "Come Close EP". This album is from independent artist singer/songwriter Chris Roe who works for Croydon Jubilee Church and brings an authentically British sound to the worship on this interestingly titled album "Separation...Is Just Illusion".

The album starts off with "Awaken", a track that reminds me of the sound of Paul Poulton. From the outset there is going to be an intellectual depth to this album as the first line asks us to "Awaken your consciousness to the wonders of His goodness..." which is not our normal kick-off line from Bethel or Hillsong, at least not that I remember! This track is opening up to the understanding that when we are Christians we are inhabited by the Holy Spirit, God is WITH us and in us and we are called to live a life in resurrection power. That's heavy stuff for the first track of the album, but also incredibly true and often we see ourselves as separate from God, cut off, we feel distant and yet His Spirit dwells in us, how can we be distant? This is, I think, where the title of the album comes in. Chris also reminds us that we are "God's Cherished Love Dream" and he will continue that theme later in the album with a track of the same name.

"Bliss" opens with a woman whispering "Oh the bliss, oh the bliss, of your presence" and this is about the invitation to spend time in the presence of God Himself. Taking images of going up the mountain from the Old Testament and mixing it with New Testament images from Revelation giving us an idea what it would be like to spend time with God's presence in the heavenly realm, but also inviting us into something of that in our worship experience right now. When we have those mountain-top experiences of God's presence we find ourselves "Hopelessly Ruined" for other poorer substitutes and we come away knowing that God is all that we need. This gentle song speaks of the desire to be in God's presence and actually without any direct challenge it makes you examine when you last had that moment of fulfilment with God, we need to have those times of communion and that the entertainments of the day aren't enough for us, we just need more of God. This feeds into the next track, "Linger" which again reminds us of the beauty and joy of staying in God's presence.

The tone changes with "Golden Lampstand" which takes us from being in the presence of God now to the throne-room of heaven. This carries more weight and gravity as it recounts the words of Revelation Chapter 1 and the description of the Son of Man and our reaction in song and attitude. As quickly as the gravity comes in this song it vanishes with the next as we consider "God's Cherished Love Dream" that was mentioned earlier. With an opening fitting for a romantic song this track is about the mystery of God's love unfolding in our lives. This track is all about encouraging us to see how much that God loves us by opening up our lives to what He is doing in and for us.

The next track is about our devotions. So often if we spend any time with God it's a quick prayer, a couple of Bible Verses and a short pithy analogy from a writer trying possible to help us apply their interpretation of what we have read to our lives and then off into the day. This song though lays out a different plan, spending actual time laying out all the parts of our life before God and then waiting on Him to bring His fire into our hearts. This is again an unspoken challenge as what our lives should be and why, perhaps, we operate as a people without power so often in our Christian walk. "Pushing Through" the next track is about pushing into that love of God, the desperate overwhelming desire to get close to Jesus that should be our life experience. This song takes some of the imagery of the New Testament, both the words of Paul and the actions of the woman with the issue of blood to convey the conviction that we should be pressing into Jesus as though our life depends on it. When you listen to this type of song it makes sense, but it needs to translate into our own actions and a prioritised lifestyle. The last track is a simple image of sitting at the feet of Jesus, like the disciples and even Mary who chose to sit and listen to Jesus and enjoy that fellowship rather than rushing around getting everything ready. "Sit At Your Feet" is another beautiful song about how our lives should be, but so often aren't.

A lot of our worship is about making promises in the moment but rarely actually following through on those promises once we leave a church service. This album shows the beauty of being one with the One who came to be with us, to dwell amongst us. Sadly many of us will make excuses to find the time to actually do this. If nothing else this collection of songs has given me a challenge about the time that I give to Jesus and to prayer. Musically the sound is different to much of what is pumped out, it has a British light rock feel to some of the tracks, "Awaken" the opening track has the strongest vibe of this. There is no direct challenge given but the various imagery here will challenge those who aren't able to sing with Chris that we love getting up and laying our lives out before God on the altar simply because of the conviction that we don't do it!
RA

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