Should this album be renamed “Church Elevator Music”? I realize that question might ruffle some feathers, but I believe the answer may be “yes”. Before you blow a gasket, please read on and let me share my reasoning. Read on as I dive in and take a look at the highly anticipated album from The Digital Age, entitled Evening : Morning…
Let’s start with the big picture… Evening : Morning is the debut full length release from The Digital Age. The title references the concept of the collection of songs in which each represents one of the twelve hours during the darkness between nightfall and first light. I know some of you are asking… is this like a musical version of the classic George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino flick “From Dusk Till Dawn”?! No… fortunately it is not, although I think Robert Rodriguez could make a sweet grind house video for one of the tracks…
Back to the the real world… and the concept… I have listened to interviews with the band, and I understand this was a very important theme, representing their exit from David Crowder*Band and entrance into this new realm of The Digital Age. I understand the reasoning, I guess it just didn’t naturally convey that message to me musically as I listened. It simply feels like a solid collection of tunes that fit together nicely.
The musical and audio quality of this record is excellent. I expected no less. These guys know what they are doing at their (many) instruments as well as behind the recording console. I have a friend who recorded some tracks at their studio and they were very impressed by how seasoned and creative these guys are in session space. These guys know how the knobs and switches work, I would love to take a class from them.
Standout tracks include:
- All The Poor And Powerless… which is a juiced up remake of the well written, extremely popular tune from All Sons & Daughters
- Glow… simply fun and creative… lots of electronic energy
- Believe… these guys’ “Apostles’ Creed” song. A doctrinal declaration like some others like Rich Mullins have done in the past, just The Digital Age version.
- Captured… this is a unique tune, released as the first single from the record. It marries the hipster “ho”, “hey” vibe with a little digital flare. Lots of folks are really digging it.
Each of the twelve songs here are pretty good. They span a lot of genre ground as well, which is really cool and bold.
All that said… there is one thing holding this record back… overwhelmingly bland vocals. Here’s where my questions at the top of the review comes into play…
Church Elevator Music… what is elevator music? Typically it’s pleasant to the ear, non-offensive music that can easily fade into the background. My experience with elevator music never involves me saying “this music is terrible!” Usually, it’s the opposite. If I take the time to listen to elevator music I realize it’s correctly and pleasantly arranged. It’s musically correct. Its well performed and usually well produced.
The thing elevator music is missing, nearly always, is personality. It’s missing something that makes that tune stick in your head all day. It’s missing that lyric that makes you sit up at night admiring how clever that songwriter was. That’s why a business or company will pipe it in, because it fades into the background.
Evening: Morning’s vocals are simply missing that thing that makes you remember them. My best analogue here is a computer. It feels like these guys wrote beautiful music, plugged into a vocal computer program and what came out is what you hear on the album: by the book, efficient, correct, but ultimately it comes across as almost soulless.
I want this album to stand out in my mind. I want to remember some vocal flourish or creatively worded lyric, but those things simply aren’t there. Perhaps it was a stylistic choice. I would love to pick their brains about this specific direction. Unfortunately, this really keeps me from loving this record.
The Digital Age tried something different with Evening : Morning. I applaud that. They have made an album I will heavily draw from in my pre-service mix or play in the background while doing other things.
I appreciate the gravity of actually being a band of worship leaders. That isn’t an easy role to balance with recording and touring and writing creatively challenging music. These guys all have great hearts and amazing talent. I hope you enjoy the album, Elevator Music and all.
Please remember, guys. This is one man’s opinion. Please let me know what you think about the album below… was I right or dead wrong?