Monday, April 2, 2012

Jenny and Tyler: Open Your Doors Review

Jenny & Tyler, a critically acclaimed husband and wife duet, have released three albums since they met at college in 2006. But after releasing their 2010 album Faint Not, and opening for Audrey Assad and Sara Groves this past year, Jenny & Tyler’s success has sprung up suddenly. It’s not hard to tell why, with their fourth studio album Open Your Doors. Jenny & Tyler is a couple that pours their hearts and vocals into an album. With Open Your Doors, the duet speaks to the soul in a Psalmist fashion, opening the doors of the soul for the King of Glory to come in. The project is also more Scripturally-rich, upping the deep listening experience that they have to offer.

With an upbeat bluegrass twist, “Little Balloon” opens with Jenny Somers’ angelic vocals. With very descriptive lyrics of a balloon flying up out of reach, or an evergreen tree that is too high to climb, it speaks of our fear that we might become too far gone for God to rescue us. Tyler joins Jenny in supportive harmony, as they declare that “No one is able to steal what is in Your hands” – a fantastic reminder, as we all have dealt with this feeling at one time or another. It’s Tyler’s deep and slightly strained vocals that make “Abide.” This track shares part of the meaning behind the album title Open Your Doors, as the track addresses abiding in Jesus and the bridge is borrowed from the Psalms: “Open up your doors/ let the King come in…” Though the track is mostly made of acoustic guitars, a light drumbeat and a laidback cello offer support as well.

The acoustic-guitar only track “Skyline Hill” speaks of inexpressible gratitude, while “When Darkness Falls,” along the same note musically, speaks of the times when darkness covers our lives and we feel completely restless. Nevertheless, the bridge answers this predicament: “You are stillness, You are quiet/ You are comfort, You are peace.” I really enjoy how Jenny & Tyler speak honestly of these times of distress, but answer the feelings in our unchanging God.

Glockenspiels give “Fear Thou Not” a jolly feeling, as Jenny & Tyler’s vocals appear very emphatic against the strong guitar strumming. The lyrics are almost entirely originated from Isaiah in Old Testament fashion, God speaking to His children commanding them not to fear no matter how hard attacks of the enemy are: “For I am with thee/ For I am thy God/ And I will strengthen thee/ Fear thou not, fear thou not.” A short, bare acoustic-guitar instrumental follows, appropriately titled “Lament,” because of its sad feel. Nevertheless, it paves the way for the mellower track “O That The Light,” written to someone who is shutting themselves away out of discouragement and depression. But it goes farther to remind them that grace still remains, and all one has to do is “open your eyes.” This track builds excellently with quiet piano adding to the strength.

“You Keep Loving Me,” with more modern than poetic lyrics, speaks of how Jesus continues to love us unconditionally, even through the times of life when we feel like a failure or we can do it all alone. “Psalm 86,” also entirely Scripture is a great listen, especially Jenny & Tyler’s dynamic harmonies. The duet covers the hymn “See the Conqueror” but adds the Jenny & Tyler sentiment, again with glockenspiels. This powerful song about the resurrection of Jesus Christ is very powerful and builds very nicely, and is followed by the closing track “Kingdom of Heaven” perfectly. It is based on the last two chapters of Revelation, and is dressed in a very nice acoustic guitar sound with a light drumbeat and stunning harmonies again. A breathtaking piano instrumental titled “Selah” closes the album on a very heavenly note.

Whereas Faint Not had a handful of phenomenal tracks mixed in with a bunch of other nice ones, Open Your Doors is absolutely fantastic straight through. It seems that Jenny & Tyler’s sound, and especially their vocals and lyrics have taken a step up after their recent success. Open Your Doors is by far their finest work to date. If you are a fan of ear-grabbing harmonies, acoustic worship, and Scripture songs, Open Your Doors is a project for you! Good job, Jenny & Tyler!

Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: April 3, 2012

Get a free download of "Little Balloon" here!

Track listing:
1. Little Balloon
2. Abide
3. Skyline Hill
4. When Darkness Falls
5. Fear Thou Not
6. Lament
7. O That the Light
8. You Keep Loving Me
9. Psalm 86
10. See the Conqueror
11. Kingdom of Heaven
12. Selah

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