One Wild Life : Soul [Album Review] – Gungor

Last year was full of transition for the band Gungor, and I wrote about their challenges in Gungor’s Shunning and I Am Mountain Review. Without much warning or fanfare, Gungor released the first of three new albums that marks their unmistakable return to the CCM scene. The first is titled One Wild Life: Soul Although, they wouldn’t be true to themselves if they did it in catchy pop music designed for Christian music stations.

One Wild Life - Soul
OWL – Soul

Their last album was alright, but it wasn’t aimed at their typical audience. This new album continues to develop their ever-evolving sound with incredible talent and craft. It’s also worth noting that they have made some life changes, and they relocated from their home church in Denver to Los Angeles.

The Music

The summarized expression of this album’s sound could be described as contemporary indie with plenty of experimentation throughout genres. Songs like One Wild Life and We are Stronger are certainly written with a pop flavor. Gungor is not shy of complicated rhythms and fast tempos with changing time signatures.

Michael and Lisa Gungor - Merge PR
Michael and Lisa Gungor – Merge PR

Overall, there’s a lot of happy vibes and upbeat patterns to balance the mellow and reflective songs. The various strings work as the uniting musical thread complimenting and enhancing the music regardless of the tone. They make this album beautiful.

The Lyrics

There is few people in the CCM space pushing the boundaries and expression of the Gospel like Michael and David Gungor. That is my favorite trait of the music of Gungor and The Brilliance. This album is no exception and doesn’t disappoint.

The most powerful tool of evangelism is the relation of the Gospel communicated through our lives, and we Christians often give the false impression that we have it easier than everyone else. This is why so much of the Christian labeled products are considered “safe.” Gungor whole-heartily disagrees with this misguided notion, and it inspires me. It convicts and afflicts in a way that Jesus spoke.

Gungor

Songs

The song Vapor was originally released as part of the EPs from The Liturgist last year, and I honestly believe it was one of the best songs released in 2014. In an episode from one of my favorite shows, Relevant Podcast, Michael Gungor shares about how this song came from a genuine and broken place when he was wrestling with faith. I was happy to see it under their band name now.

My favorite song on this whole album is Us for Them. This song is perfectly timed for a world caught up with labels and sides that it has pushed Christianity to a mode of defense instead of offense to bring the Good News to the world. This song is a battle cry and challenge to all the weary hearts desiring to bring Christ to everyone. Personally, ever line in this song proclaims the power of the mercy and love of Jesus. These lines stick out most to me.

Prepare the way of the Lord
Wielding mercy like a sword
Every mountaintop will be made low
Know, He holds the earth like dust
And His judgement comes to us
And His judgement is love
His judgement is love

We will not fight their wars
We will not fall in line
Cause if it’s us or them
It’s us for them
It’s us for them

We reject the either or

They can’t define us anymore
Cause if it’s us or them
It’s us for them
It’s us for them

Cause if it’s us or them
It’s us for them
It’s us for them

The mysterious and pensive Am I is also a challenging song that asks questions about how we see God. It has a vast collection of sounds that truly fits their self-described “genre blurring” music. You takes these questions a few steps further and shares of the experiences of conversion, failure, and doubt throughout life with an unwavering God.

This album is a wonderful work of art, and possibly their best yet. I look forward to the upcoming albums of Body and Spirit.

A photo posted by Gungor (@gungormusic) on

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