Soothing Advent meditations from Young Oceans
Young Oceans, of New York's Trinity Grace church, will soon be delivering their new album, Advent.
If you are unfamiliar with them, this neo-alternative worship group compare largely to the music of Hillsong in terms of style and genre.
Young Oceans were first noticed in 2009 when they appeared in Trinity Grace's live worship album, Without End, and the 2011 follow-up We Sing as One.
Last Christmas an EP version of Advent was released but post recording sessions had to be delayed due to numerous events. Their album has finally be completed and will be released on November 5, offering a musical companion to daily meditations being posted to their social media sites throughout the season of Advent.
Opening track, "All Who Hear" provides a template for the entire album, with poetic lyrics and a stripped accompaniment. The echoed vocals create a soothing ambience, inviting a calming worship session.
Inspiration for their lyrics has come from many verses in the Bible. Resonating with the words of Isaiah 40:3-4, it sings of God's goodness having never abandoning His children: "A desert voice calls out. Lend him your ear, your heart. Though we are scattered stones… We're not alone."
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Similarly, the second track "Come to Us O Lord", sings: "Come to us O Lord. Prince of Peace, Emmanuel" - taken from Micah 5:2-4, with references to several other verses from Isaiah and Proverbs.
Most tracks sustain a slow tempo, establishing an appropriate atmosphere for listeners to digest their meaning and complementing the gentle vocals and harmonies on each track.
Not all tracks are accompanied with lead vocals. "Scattered Stones", for example, is entirely instrumental, led mainly by piano and string. When listening to this instrumental, expect your eyes to close as you sink into its beautiful melody.
The album concludes with "God of This Restless Heart", a song which rejoices with the words: "Rise up, oh rise up; spirit within me up from the valley floor; shouts unto thee. Alleluia!". An uplifting conclusion to a peaceful and spiritual listen.
All in all, this soothing, folk-inspired collection is the ideal music to quieten our souls in the bustle of the Christmas season, and focus our minds back on the heart of it all, the birth of our Saviour.