- Hymn 140
- Bind Us Together/Unity
- Fairest Lord Jesus
- We Are Waiting
- Holy One
- Sunday Came
- Found In You
- We Praise You
- Stand Firm
- May The Words
- All That I Am
Unity is the fourth album from Sydney band Garage Hymnal. The album was recorded over the course of 3 nights in May at St Stephen’s Newtown featuring a choir and the crowds singing along, which have been mixed with the bands vocals.
Hymn 140 is an adaptation of hymn number 140 from the Australian Hymn Book, the words written by Charles Wesley.
Bind Us Together/Unity starts out with the classic hymn: Bind Us Together before moving into Garage Hymnal‘s Unity. I really like the start of this song, with some soft keys, strong lead vocal and the crowd as backing, before the lead guitar rings out with beautiful echos. This song speaks of the unity that is in God has, and that Christians have in Christ, as Paul speaks of in His letters to the Ephesians and Colossians, following the example of God. The chorus is hauntingly beautiful as well, but I think that the bridge is a bit messy with it’s vocal overlapping and multiple repetitions.
Fairest Lord Jesus also has a great start, as it builds up with guitar then main vocals, underpinned by the choir and crowd, into a lovely, melodic and warm track. It is an old hymn from the 1600s that speaks of the beauty of Jesus, and draws on many ideas in the Bible. They combine it with on an old hymn I vow to thee, My Saviour finishing the song well with the mix being only choir, crowd and keys.
We Are Waiting speaks of the Christians’ eager wait for Christ’s return, hoping for The Day to come when Jesus will lead us to our home in Heaven.
Amen speaks of the faithfulness of God, His love for us and fulfilment of His promises in Christ. It’s a beautiful song, but I feel like some of the theology behind it could do with some work. I think the premise of the song is that we are to sing/pray to God, and He will answer our prayers. Yet it only speaks of when things aren’t going well; when we are broken, weary, desperate, hurting, crying, lonely which are all negative, but the Bible says that we are also to pray to God at all times, the good and the bad, yes offering up our needs, but also giving thanks and praise.
Holy One is another mellow song, speaking of God and the reasons (in His character) why we love and praise Him. It has a lovely and haunting breakdown with cries out to God.
Sunday Came seems to speak of the resurrection of Christ then, and The Day to come, and more importantly the faith of believers today, in the way that we believe though we have not seen. The end of the song is mixed down nicely with the choir coming in, sans instruments.
Found In You is the most upbeat track on the album. It almost has a Mark Peterson/Hillsong-esk feel to it in it’s rocky big-room guitar-sound and big vocals, but overcomes that with well written lyrics; I do like the use of resplendent! It showcases Alanna’s voice, but at times I feel like the mix down loses her voice amongst the instruments. For those who were at KYCK #3 this your, you would have already heard it and sung it, as the guys introduced it there. The last line of the chorus memorably rings out: “Whom shall I fear? I will be found in You!“.
We Praise You feels especially mellow after Found in You, but does well as a kind of sung prayer, reminding me of The Lord’s Prayer.
Stand Firm is another song that opens minimally and beautifully combining vocals, choir and guitar and encourages us to stand firm in the face of opposition, sighting such examples as Noah. It reminds us to look forward to that day when all the Earth will bow before God. I do also enjoy the Transformers catch-phrase used to describe faith. The rhythm of the words is a little awkward, but I think with some familiarity people can pick it up.
May The Words is another soft and slow prayer that echoes Psalm 19:14, dedicating the singers life to God. This would work well before/after a bible reading, or quiet time.
All That I Am kind of reminds me of a Red Hot Chilli Peppers at the beginning with the guitar rift that it uses. It is again a prayer & dedication of the singer’s life to God, the Father. It recognises that He is the Father, the maker of all things, and that He is willing and able to change us, and has changed us. It also recognises where we have come from, what we were, and humbly asks for change. I’m a bit unsure of it as an ending of the album… I mean it does draw it to a nice slow close, but something about it just
My favourite tracks on the album are Bind Us Together/Unity, Found in You, Sunday Came, and Amen.
Now Garage Hymnal seem to pride themselves on writing congregational songs, and I think they’ve done better on this album than in past albums, however, I think that there’s still some difficult, and perhaps unnatural songs on this album for congregations to sing. If you are keen on getting in on these, they do have some how-to videos which you can see on their YouTube channel.
The album is available through Garage Hymnal‘s website, iTunes, Emu Music and record stores. Their site also has sheet music for songs on this current, and past albums, along with a number of other resources.
I’d strongly recommend purchasing this album, it’s catchy, well-written and Christ-focusing tunes are definitely worth it.