Friday, September 23, 2011

Benjamin Dunn and Friends: Circus of Love Review

Benjamin Dunn has been traveling the world for eight years delivering eclectic praise and worship, even releasing two solo albums. But he recently collaborated with some good friends to bring Circus Of Love by the new name, Benjamin Dunn and Friends. Circus of Love is a quirky, organic, and raw worship project. Composed of banjos, accordions, glockenspiels, and of course the norm, this album is unpredictable, each song sounding different and more unique than the first.

The high-choirs open the album up on a heavenly note, but things quickly become more playful with “Heart Strings,” reminding the listener of John Mark McMillian’s upbeat works. Quite innovative, the lyrics speak of Jesus playing our heart strings: “You played my heart-strings, whoa oh oh oh/ because only You know the melody to salvation’s song.” As if on queue, the slower David Crowder* Band sounding “Melody of Salvation” follows, speaking of bringing God all our praises as He plucks the strings of our heart. As in most of this group’s music, the fill-ins were quite enjoyable and easy to sing along to.

Speaking of how creation is a circus of love that sings their hearts out to God, the title track is made perfect by the hand-clapping drumbeat chosen, as well as the unique instruments that make up the heavenly melody of the verse. The strong electric-guitar fronted “Smile On Me” is very fun, asking God to look down on us and smile on us with His shining face. There is a really irritating high-pitched sound at the end of this track, but other than that is a great song. And with vocal echoes and very serene music, “126” is clearly one of the highlights off Circus of Love, speaking of how Jesus Christ has taken away our gloom and given us joy: “You gave us joy and you took our sadness/ Laughter stole our tears/ Songs of praise now fill our voices oh oh oh…”

It’s easy to tell that Benjamin and his friends had fun with “Leap Like A Deer,” as the swing beat make the track a highlight for the listener. We are reminded that God makes everything beautiful and glorious in His time, while the peaceful “Hymn of Salvation,” made by pounding circus-sounding drums, is a simple song of praise for all that God has done by setting us free. “You’re Everywhere,” based on Psalm 24, is crazy in a good way, speaking of how all of creation gives glory to God and all know His name, while “Sweetest Name” closes Circus of Love, not really building much until the end, but very heartfelt with two simple lines and a beautiful melody.

It’s certainly an eclectic album, Benjamin Dunn and Friend’s Circus of Love! You’ll hear a ton of creativity, a bit of heart-felt worship, and bit of just plain fun. It’s a great listen, because you never know what will happen next!

Rating: 3.5/5
Release date: December 15, 2010

Track listing:
1. Introduction
2. Heart Strings
3. Melody of Salvation
4. Circus of Love
5. Smile on Me
6. 126
7. Leap Like a Deer
8. Hymn of Salvation
9. You’re Everywhere
10. Sweetest Thing

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