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Music Review: Trial & Triumph by I Am They

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June 24, 2018
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Trial & Triumph
I AM THEY - Crown Him (Official Lyric Video)

Basic Details

Release Date
Price (RRP)
£9.90 (amazon)
Digital Price
£7.99 (amazon)

Track Listing

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I AM THEY made its national debut in January 2015 with their self-titled album on Essential Records. The band's five-piece, pop-acoustic worship sound is anchored by three-part vocal harmonies. The group, made up of Abbie Parker (vocals/harmonium), Jon McConnell (vocals/guitars/keys), Matt Hein (vocals/guitar/mandolin), Justin Shinn (keys/banjo) and Sara Palmer (drums) represent I AM THEY

Inspired by John 17. 'In that chapter,' shares Sara, 'Jesus is praying for his disciples and refers to them as 'they.' He's praying and saying things like, 'Sanctify them. Make them holy. They are not of the world because I am not of the world' He's really interceding for his disciples. We are disciples of Christ and being disciples is just as important today as it was back then. We're still here for the same purpose on the same mission with the same calling, bringing people to the Lord and spreading the news of the Gospel to people. We really wanted to incorporate that into our mission as a band, saying that anybody who is a believer in Christ is a 'They.' They are a disciple as well so we can stand together in that and really bring people into the 'I AM THEY' family because we are all family in Christ.'

Editor review

1 reviews

Trial and Triumph by I Am They
Overall rating 
 
7.1
Vocals 
 
8.0
Lyrics 
 
8.0
Originality 
 
6.0
Value 
 
8.0
Personal Rating 
 
6.0

This is my first experience of I Am They and I must say from the very first track they have a great home-grown country / worship style to their music. "My Feet Are On The Rock" does a great job of bringing the upbeat song of firm foundations of the believer. This has a great sound which is helped enormously by the strong and exuberant vocal of newcomer to the band Abbie Parker. She makes this particular track, and actually quite a few of the others too, with plenty of strength she manages to arrest the attention on the key parts of the song.

As the name of this album suggests this is about the good times and the hard times of life and faith. Over the past few years a lot of Christian artists bring songs into this area because it's often where it's needed by those who are suffering with their own issues. There is a huge gulf between those that have been through the trials and tests, and may actually still be going through it, and those who have never really experienced it, at least not down in the depths of their soul. "To The One" opens a few songs that show that depth of experience as it expresses the fears of those who have suffered and tells us to bring those secret fears to the One. When we do we find the call home, the love and the mercy that makes those fears shrink away. "How Far We've Come" shows us the distance between who we were and who we are now and the faithfulness of Jesus alongside us putting us back together.

"Scars" particularly is a track that resonates within this theme. Especially for those who are down and struggle to see the sunrise each day and find joy in life. There are so many who have mental scars from things that are said and done to them, but then there are those who have externalised that internal battle and have lost the fight to self-harm. Those scars, while not a good thing, are a reminder of the trials that some people have been through and overcome, for many it is those moments that lead to them finding comfort in a God who loves them and a Saviour who would die for them. At this moment it is that the focus is brought onto Jesus scars in His hands and feet, that it is these scars we can be thankful for too, because it tells the story of great love. It would be very easy to class this as another worship song about the cross, but for anyone who has self-harmed or knows a self-harmer this will really ring true!

There is definitely inspiration from the story of David in "No Impossible With You" as it talks about staring down a giant and not being about to sing a song. There is though the underlying confidence that God will come through and stands on the side of the believer and remembering that nothing is impossible for God, anything that is too much for us is not too much for Him. Some people have pointed that the next track has a bit of an "Ocean's" vibe, they may have a point. It's not just the watery link that makes "The Water (Meant For Me)" and excellent song about leading where God follows. For me though it sounds more like something that I might expect from Jordan Feliz, with the building of the chorus, but again it's the vocal from Abbie Parker than really brings this song to life! It's definitely one of the most catchy songs on the release and I am sure the addition of David Leonard (from All Sons and Daughters) helps with this.

The trouble with this album, especially after multiple listening, is that the end of the album falls flat. The creativity and drive that infused the early songs seems to have disappeared for the final four tracks. "Near To Me" is a reasonable song, but when it is followed by three other tracks that seem very similar in tempo it drains the life out of the album. That's not to say that in a different order these tracks wouldn't get a bit more attention, it's just it seems to become a bit of background music at this point.

If you follow the theme of this album, as they seem to have done, the first tracks are about the trial, and the later tracks are about the triumph. So why do the overcoming of the trials get the majority of the creativity? I just think it would have been as valid to spread these tracks out through the album which could stop it from getting bogged down at the end. There is good writing on this album, and anyone in a season of suffering would probably appreciate the early tracks, if you buy this digitally then perhaps play them on shuffle and see if it improves the overall feel of this recording.

I do love this country-pop-worship mix, and when it has the right vibe it works really well. So have a listen and give them a chance!

RA

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