by Sam Robinson
There’s been an earful of quality Christian music emerging from Colorado, USA this year. Page CXVI’s church calendar records are all-but-released, and now, Asaph, the glorious second album from Loud Harp has arrived. Loud Harp are Dave Wilton (A Boy and His Kite) and Asher Seevinck (Seafinch).
Asaph (named after the psalmist) is a collection of songs based on psalms. Rather than write songs from psalms verbatim, as an act like Sons of Korah might do, Loud Harp reference the words of the featured psalms but add words of reflection to each. The band aimed to make a more hope-focussed record and describe the release as ‘the songs of a people ascending the hill of the Lord. A people in awe of God’s greatness – a people with a new focus’.
Containing reflective words combined with some magnificent arrangements and lush vocals – Asaph is one of the standout records of the year so far.
The album opens with (27) Take Heart. It starts with surprising cinematic 80s synth sounds. But as the song evolves, there is a real focus on hope: ‘We will wait for you, you will restore us’. (08) I’m Yours is a wonderful reflection on being bought and owned by the blood of Jesus.
(73) The Nearness of You is a bright, upbeat number that acknowledges God as a strength and refuge. It breaks out into a real jam towards the end.
(121) is split across two tracks and is meticulously arranged. (73) My Portion Forever is soaked in intricate rhythms that result in a seriously danceable groove.
Other standout tracks include (50) Out of Zion and album closer (144) Steadfast Love. The latter is a near-seven-minute epic that moves wonderfully.
I’ve got to admit that it took a number of listens for me to get into this album. It’s a certified grower, but also a certified winner. Loud Harp may be a small indie band but they’re producing music that is musically rich, Scripture-based, and an absolute delight to get your ears around. I’m giving Asaph four out of five stars.