As Bethel Church gear up for their next big release – For The Sake Of The World it’s time to take a brief trip down memory lane.
Undone is the first record Bethel's Brian and Jenn Johnson ever released. Now, as the church’s worldwide influence grows, the CD has been released as a reminder of Bethel Music’s humble beginnings.
The real selling point of this CD is the raw, intimate feel. While recent release The Loft Sessions had a great stripped back feel, the production was deliberately warm. With Undone, few if any of the sounds have been polished in the studio.
Undone is like watching a live worship event from behind the scenes. It sounds great, but you can still witness the occasional mistake. The view is honest. You’re as far removed from the ‘slick production’ as it’s possible to be while still being in the same room.
Featuring Brian and Jenn Johnson, the opening track We Cry Out will be familiar to fans of Bethel’s youth band Jesus Culture. But before a note is played, we hear the congregation singing out spontaneously.
The gentle hum of prayer and praise is refreshing. You get the impression from the outset that this was a project not for the world, but for the church in Redding. The listener is merely eavesdropping on a deeply spiritual moment.
The arrangement of We Cry Out is acoustic in focus but follow up Revival Generation is much more intense. There’s a driving electric guitar in the chorus and the overall sound is reminiscent of some early Delirious tunes.
Oh Taste And See is led by Jenn Johnson and has an infectious melody and is beautifully simple in structure and lyrics. Broken For You stands out as a truely stunning melody complete with sensitive instrumentation. All in all this is a superb collection of songs.
It’s interesting to note this album is over a decade old. The quality of the church’s recordings has certainly improved since 2001, but you could also argue the raw passion of the church’s music team has become veiled in recent releases.
The Loft Sessions certainly helped the megachurch put its music back into a local and intimate context. But as good as that release was, it’s Undone which wins the authenticity prize. If you want to know how the massive success of Bethel music began or what really makes the team tick, you won’t just find the answers in interviews and blog posts. You’ll find your answers seconds after hitting the ‘play’ button on Undone.
Rating: 9 out of 10
September 10th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes