Saturday, June 11, 2011

Peter Furler: On Fire Review

Like most of the world, I was a bit shocked to hear about Peter Furler’s departure from the Newsboys in 2009, after being Newsboys’ main member for 20 years. After Michael Tait replaced Peter as lead singer, we all thought we were waving goodbye to one of Christian music’s favorite Aussie singers. However, Peter Furler soon announced work on a solo project, collaborating with several well-known producers, including Steve Taylor and Seth Mosley from Centricity’s Me In Motion band. After two years of waiting, Peter Furler saw God open doors right and left for a solo project. Taking each turn that God led him to, Peter found immense freedom to write what was on his heart, and his new project On Fire was birthed.

Peter Furler’s On Fire project opens up strongly with “I’m Alive,” an enjoyable techno track that proves that Peter’s solo work is very similar to older Newsboys music, especially that of the In The Hands of God and Devotion projects. “I’m Alive” is a song of gratitude to God for freedom, and is followed by the popular radio single “Reach.” On the same upbeat techno note, “Reach” speaks of how God is the creator of everything, and yet He still desires an intimate relationship with each of us. Written in part by Seth Mosley, this radio single will having the listener singing along in no time to these inspirational lyrics: ” You reach for me / with a love quiets all my fears / You reach for me / like a Father wipes away the tears / so many people in this world / but I hear You calling out my name / You reach for me / now I'm never gonna be the same.” Also enjoyable about this radio single were the many fill-ins.

“Glory to the King,” beginning with angelic-sounding choir, was a song that Peter wrote at his grandmother’s death in 2010, an honest and raw worship song, imagining that day when we will see Jesus, and all of our fears and tears will be wiped away. Although it was more upbeat, it reminded me of Rebecca St. James’ “In A Moment” from her I Will Praise You album. “Never Ending Love Song” actually sounds a bit playful at first, but the seriousness of the lyrics makes up for it, speaking of how much God has done for us, and how we will never be done singing our love song to Him.

“Matter of Faith” and “All In Your Head” were my favorite set of songs on On Fire, “Matter of Faith” being a strong contemporary track speaking of having faith in God, and how without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:1). “All In Your Head” is a very encouraging track that builds up to a very catchy techno beat by the chorus, and speaks about taking the chances: “get up / get off your seat / move your feet / just do what He said / it’s all in your head / it it’s all in your head // forgetting what’s behind / now’s the time to / go where your led / it’s all in your head.”

“Closer,” obviously Steve Taylor inspired, asks the question “Are you ready for the future?” and its pop tempo and major fill-ins make the track definitely worth the listen. The playful-sounding “Faster and Louder,” is autobiographic, telling the story of the freedom that Peter found in being himself through this latest project. The whistling acts also provoke the listener to whistle along through the whole song.

Because of the techno tempo, Peter Furler’s “Psalm 23” sounded more like something that you would expect from an electronic artist like Andy Hunter, even muffling Peter’s voice throughout most of the song. “Hold On” encourages the listener to “just believe” through the hard times, because God will always see us through. Due to Peter’s voice, which seemed accentuated by this track, this was a definite highlight on his On Fire project. Finally, borrowing its lyrics almost entirely from Scripture, the closing track “Greater Is He” features guest vocals from Phil Joel and Bill Furler (Peter’s brother). Ending On Fire on an upbeat, yet somewhat soothing note, “Greater Is He” reminds the listener that even through the tough trials in life, God in us is greater than anything we face on this earth.

Peter Furler’s On Fire solo project is a must have for fans of Newsboys’ older works. However, as similar as this project may be to Newsboys, it is different as well, in the fact that it tells Peter’s story of finding freedom, and it contains a catchy techno sound that I found to be very enjoyable. No doubt teaming up with Steve Taylor, Phil Joel, and Seth Mosley added a ton to this project.

Rating: 4/5
Release date: June 21, 2011

Track listing:
1. I’m Alive
2. Reach
3. Glory to the King
4. Never Ending Love Song
5. Matter of Faith
6. All In Your Head
7. Closer
8. Faster and Louder
9. Psalm 23
10. Hold On
11. Greater Is He

1 comment:

  1. I heard a song from this album on Napster. It was very good! I also was surprised to see Furler take off solo. I miss him a lot since leaving the Newsboys, but Michael Tait is just phenomenal. He definitely lends a different sound to the group, but it's an excellent one.


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