Monday, May 7, 2012

Bluetree: Kingdom Review

Bluetree certainly knows their fair share of success. Three years ago, their worship song “God of This City” was covered by Chris Tomlin, pushing this worship group to the forefront of Christian radio. But just as their success began, Bluetree pulled away from the Christian music world altogether to spend more time where they believed God was calling them – their home church in Belfast, Ireland. After spending time as the worship team there, Bluetree was rebirthed, this time with their heart more focused on ministry than success.

Lead singer Aaron Boyd says that the difference between their debut project and their latest offering Kingdom is that through this project the listener will be able to hear the heart of his church, Exchange Church – and that is the case. This eleven-track worship project takes its focus on the offering of Christ and the freedom we can experience through His gift for us. They take it back to the basics – no “agendas or flashy programs” as the band puts it. They contemplate the goodness of God and bathe it in pure Scripture.

Right from the beginning, Bluetree celebrates the freedom we find in God through the opening track “Glorious, Victorious,” mixed with Aaron’s Irish-accented vocals: “I am healed, I’m restored, I’m forgiven/ by the life You gave to set me free/ I’m a saint, I’m a brand new creation saved by grace through faith in Jesus name/ This is Your kingdom God…” After the energetic track with plenty of choirs backing it up, the extra bassy “You Were, You Are” follows. The verses are very beautiful and descriptive of the creation God has made, but the highlight proves to be the bridge: “Even rocks cry out Your praise!”

And from there, the album continues to contemplate the death and resurrection of our Lord. As Paul stated, “If Christ has not risen, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” Bluetree knows the simplicity yet grave importance of this. “It is Finished” speaks of how Jesus completed it all with His last words, while the happy-sounding “Exalt Him” is a timeless declaration of praise. But, what proves to be the highlight of this track and most of Bluetree’s powerful worship songs are the thought-provoking bridges. In the case of “Exalt Him,” there is this: “It is done, death is defeated now/ it is won, the battle is over now!” Furthermore, we are reminded that in the same way Jesus left this earth, He will come back again.

Through the melodic “Destined to Reign,” Bluetree explores the aftermath of salvation – that “we are more than conquerors in everything.” The first single off Kingdom, “Jesus Healer” follows next. The single is simple, yet has a futuristic feel to it that reminds me of Natalie Grant’s single “Your Great Name.” It’s not hard to see why this single has been received so well by the church, for its same message of “God of This City,” a prayer that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.

With a tropical feel, “Shine” and “You are My Rock” both follow nicely, “Shine” being a prayer for God to invade the darkness and “You are My Rock” being a piano-based declaration that we as God’s people have chosen to put our trust in Him. “Rest” completes the message of this set of tracks, that Jesus will never let us go.

But just as you expect the album to close on a slow note through the last two tracks, we get the two most upbeat tracks on the record instead! Both have techno effects infused in the upbeat worship, “Lighten Up” praising our God who causes the darkness to flee and “Under My Feet” concluding the message of the entire Kingdom album. Jesus Christ died and rose again for our sins, and now WE have power over the enemy! “…the devil’s under my feet/ the old way is gone/ the new day, here for us!” I was happy they closed with these two upbeat tracks. There was a bit of musical repetition throughout the first handful of tracks, so hearing these surprisingly upbeat tracks were enjoyable.

It’s obvious that Bluetree’s heart is in the right place with their sophomore project Kingdom. The album invites the kingdom of God into earth as it is in heaven and surrounds the listener with freedom in the power of God! It really is an exciting listen! There are some tracks that appear a bit repetitious, but every track is freeing and celebratory.

Rating: 3.5/5
Release date: May 8, 2012

Track listing:
1. Glorious Victorious
2. You Were You Are
3. It Is Finished
4. Exalt Him
5. Destined To Reign
6. Jesus Healer
7. Shine
8. You Are My Rock
9. Rest
10. Lightens Up
11. Under My Feet

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