“In spit of the fact that the good news of Jesus Christ has been seen as a religion by outsiders, and has been sold as one by its adherents it is not a religion at all. Rather, it is the announcement of the end of religion.”
So begins Ian Yates’s second album. Released on the new 7Core label, but working with the same producer as before, Trevor Michael (Martin Smith, Tim Hughes, Garth Hewitt) the album has a solid contemporary rock/worship feel to it.
Opener Good News is a catchy and upbeat, “we’ll sing out the good news because there is hope in the God who loves us”, Ian sings.
Second track Burning For You is laden with delay filled guitar riffs, pulsating drums and solid singing.
Trusting In You sees the record settle down a little and find its rhythm. With a theme of trusting in God even in the hardest of times, it’s an authentic song about “hanging on”.
The Lord Is Here is one of the stand out tracks on the record. Talking about God breaking common problems such as depression and rejection, the song is sure to minister to people wherever it is played. Like most of the songs, it’s perfectly suited to a congregational setting.
You Found Me, is sung with such heartfelt emotion that it’s clear the song has been born out of real-life experience. Patiently building through the chorus of “When all around is sinking sand / you’re the rock I stand”, the melody soars as Ian talks about God stretching his hand out in the midst of pain and suffering.
The introduction of Freedom picks up from where the previous song left off. Again, the lyrics are well thought through and the music suits the rock genre. It’s one of the most radio-friendly tunes on the record, as the theme and music immediately resonate with the listener.
Clocking in at 6:20, The Cross Changed Everything is the longest song (and title) on the recording. The opening lyrics are both theologically deep ("nailed into union, I am one with you"), and poetic ("you are closer than the air I breathe").
The majority of the song is void of any more instrumentation than keyboard pads and a simple acoustic guitar. This allows the lyrics to shine through and the listener to use the track as a background to quiet prayer. The final quarter of the song builds slightly as Ian declares: “We are free / The son has set us free from all our sin and shame”. It’s a stunning effort.
New has a more electronic vibe to it. Comparable to some music from the 80s, plus more modern indy rock influences, it’s a surprise. The final bridge section is full of life and meaning as Ian sings about the gospel being “so much more than a second chance”.
The Father’s Love continues the electronic feel as a synth is introduced to the opening bars. It’s a dark, moody sounding song about the cross, similar in some ways to Tim Hughes’s See His Love.
Final track You Are Here closes the album and its theme of God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness. Rounding off the recording perfectly, Ian even references previous lyrics such as “you’re closer than the air I breathe”.
Good News is full of great new songs that will minister to those going through rough times. Penning tunes that can be used in local churches, Ian has done an excellent service to worship leaders looking for something fresh and just a little different to use in services.
It’s refreshing to find an album where the only cheesiness is found in a tongue in cheek album cover. The songs themselves may sound similar to many other Christian albums on a first listen, but scratch beneath the musical surface and you’ll find lyrics full of authenticity born out of real life experience. The fact that each song has a strong Biblical grounding is also key.
Overall, Good News is a well produced and thought out record, focusing on themes of love, the gospel and God’s faithfulness.
Rating: 8 out of 10
July 2nd, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes