Faith is a very personal thing. But it is also something that brings people together. So, any music made for devotion and celebration needs to tick conflicting boxes – namely, those relating to unity and personal belief. The great thing is that Breakthrough manages to balance such concerns and walk the perfect line between them.
New Covenant also manages to bridge the gap between the spiritual and the secular, the music accessible enough for those perhaps not as dedicated to their calling yet the perfect expression of their relationship with a higher power.
Breakthrough, musically speaking, is, for the most part, a collection of pop-rock songs, the deft blending of weight and accessibility, grace and grandeur. Most of the songs found here are infectious, built on great hooks and pleasing melodies. And even when they take a different approach, such as the folk-laced acoustica of Believe or the almost musical theatre approach of Where I Am, they are nothing but bristling with euphoric energy and joyousness.
The main musical thrust of New Covenant is the four vocalists who lead the musical and spiritual charge, namely Jeremy Gamble, Larry Johnson, Joanna King, and Angela Millenbaugh. Their versatility and harmonic combinations follow in the footsteps of gospel traditions and southern devotional music from across the ages.
But this is also music which moves with the times, just as worship itself does, And for every nostalgic note, there is equally a progressive voice; for every traditional vibe, there is the sound of a bright new future being ushered in.
The Mash Up is, as the name suggests, a medley of iconic spiritual songs, rendered into a wonderfully understated, almost busked delivery, acoustic guitars guide the way, but it is the voices which have throughout the album always been the focal point, which carries the lions share. The title track, by contrast, is a slick, R&B-infused slice of devotional pop music, although the word pop seems a bit inadequate for what is happening here.
The album ends with This Little Light of Mine, a 1920s gospel staple of unknown origin. It is delivered in a way that reminds us of its age and importance, not only as a devotional piece but as a song closely associated with the Civil Rights movement. It’s a song that has been covered and reworked many times and was brought back to prominence when Meghan Markle and Prince Harry chose to end their wedding with it. And if it is good enough to complete a royal wedding, it is perfect for finishing a devotional album.
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