Release Date: August 28th 2012
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
Luminate- Welcome To Daylight (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
“…I believe that this record touches all emotions: the moments alone reflecting, the moments standing as the body of Christ, and moments of telling the devil he is a liar and he has been defeated. It’s a record full of hope and joy, leaving our past regrets behind, allowing the Holy Spirit to overcome our fears, and embracing the life of hope and purpose that God has for all of us…”-Samuel Hancock, lead singer of Luminate has given his all in the production of the August 28th release, as has his bandmates. At first glance though, with high profile tracks from their debut last year gaining popularity like “Innocent”, “Healing In Your Arms” and “Come Home”; it was hard for me to imagine Sam, Cody, Dusty and Aaron topping their already beautifully crafted label debut. However, through 11 tracks and 40 minutes of pop rock goodness akin to progressive worship bands Leeland and The City Harmonic; Welcome To Daylight strongly challenges TobyMac and Karyn Williams for the top spot for the last Tuesday of August. Producers Pete Kipley and Chris Stevens have ingeniously created an epic rock/dance soundtrack to God’s heart, with lead singer Sam and the band showing listeners that they can make a statement and a stand for God, and still be relevant to society and its issues as well!
The title track is one of the best melodically, as my ear receives a good dosage of musical experimentation. A song of asking God to reveal how He sees you; this is a very uplifting track as Samuel sings about taking every moment- not just letting daylight pass us by, but welcoming it as well as we live life to the fullest the way God meant this life to be. When we are in a relationship with Jesus Christ, and ‘…when the light breaks out like a midnight sun, blazing right in front of you, life is here and now, and it’s just begun, your destiny is breaking through…’. We can live with total abandonment now that we know we are free in Jesus Christ! What a refreshing song to open, with Cody’s guitar prowess reminding me of the early days of Stu G in Delirious?.
“Wake Up” jumps right into dance mode, with plenty synth and electronic effects. Thematically similar to the title track, Samuel holds nothing back, as the explosive chorus hits you as you hear ‘…you gotta wake up, wake up, wake up, it’s a new day, open up your eyes, I wanna see you…step into the light, cause the dead man is sleeping, the newborn is alive…now’s your time to live, it’s your time to live…’. The theme of taking each precious second and living life with no fear and with a sense that Jesus has it all together; is very present in this freeing track; and Samuel’s ability as a songwriter is no less on display than this fun yet confronting track, encouraging us all to wake up, and live like Jesus has told us to- not just existing, but glorifying God in everything that we do.
“Banner Of Love”, “Heal This Home”, and “The Only Thing That Matters” follow, with each speaking about the love of God and how it has the ability to heal and comfort. “Banner of Love”, the lead single from Welcome To Daylight, is one of my favourite uplifting and inspirational songs of 2012, alongside “Forgiveness”, “Rest In The Hope” and “The Hurt and the Healer”. Kudos to Luminate for a near flawless track.The pop rock synth type re-recorded song has me hooked, and Samuel’s vocals of ‘…And only You can see my destiny, only You can be the strength I need, cause my life is Yours now; so goodbye to pride and bitterness, I’m going to live out my purpose…’ is very vulnerable, telling a true story of a God who is our strength when we need Him, and only He can see the result of the paths we take. With similar themes to Delirious?’“Paint The Town Red”; Samuel and the band encourage us to live a life of praising Jesus, and being the banner of love for the whole world, so that all may come to Christ.
The piano possible radio single “Heal This Home” takes a turning point from the happy into the sad, as Samuel sings about a broken marriage but then sheds light on the subject by reminding us that no matter how hopeless a situation is, no matter how too far gone we think someone is; God is there, and He is eager to take us as we are, and shape and mould us into the people that he wants us to be. In the case of a marriage, God is able to take it and make it whole, and even if signs point to it failing, and‘…when it feels like there’s no way to fix what’s wrong, love is strong, and God can heal this home…’. God can fix anything, because He is God. “The Only Thing That Matters” is the last track before halfway, and musically is a throwback to decades past, as the piano pop tune is groovy and nice to move to. Lyrically, Samuel speaks about how Jesus and the love He brings us is the only thing that matter in this world, and that ‘…the devil is a liar…’. The instrumental bridge, with a guitar solo and a piano riff; is a nice touch to segue into “Never Give Up”.
The middle track is the rockiest, with many instruments giving this song an edgier feel than the previous ballads. Samuel reminds me of John Cooper of Skillet in this track, particularly in the chorus as he sings out a message of hope that even though we will have trouble in this world, God has commanded us not to give up, as He already has overcome the world, as He has conquered death, thus ‘…Your love is enough, so we’ll never give up…when it all falls down…’. Because the God who made us, and was the only person in history to have defeated death is one our side; why should we every give up, if what we are pursuing is God’s intended plan and purpose for us? If it is, God will move mountains and orchestrate and direct our path accordingly. Well done Luminate for a clever and thought provoking track.
7th is “Battle For Peace”, a folk acoustic type track, with the acoustic guitar leading this unusually placed moment of vulnerability. In an album full of rock and pop radio anthems; this quiet reflective vertical worship piece is a emotional worship experience, full of surrender as Samuel asks God to ‘…stop this war, inside of me…I will fall down…at Your feet, I’m trading this battle for peace…’. When we know God is with us, we can stop fighting this war within ourselves; which is a beautiful and weight lifting feeling! “This Ends Tonight” feels like an ‘80’s rock ballad complete with a strong guitar riff presence; as Samuel directs this memo to the devil, telling him that we are done the lies, and ‘…the fight is here and now, I can see that you’re simply masquerading, there’s no way you’re every gonna take me out…’. Jesus speaks truth, so the devil’s ploys shouldn’t faze or crack us, and this declarative anthem gives us the authority to stand up to the devil and tell him to leave!
“Love is Loud” reminds me of a David Crowder*Band or Owl City track musically, and directs listeners to the beauty of creation and everything else around us as the basis for the love of God, and that God is omnipresent- ‘…I can see Your face, I can see Your hands, I can see Your fingerprints, You’re everywhere I am, I can hear Your voice, what a beautiful sound, Your love…is loud…’. Thematically similar to Steven Curtis Chapman’s ‘Fingerprints Of God’, and An Epic No Less’s ‘Echo Of Love’; “Love Is Loud” teaches us that God loves us more than anything, and the stars in the sky, and the sun is enough to show us that He is God. What a fantastic notion to celebrate! “Living In a Memory” continues in the experimental vein musically. This is something similar to one of Adam Young’s creations. Lyrically, this song is sound as well, with Samuel gives us food for thought, as he sings ‘…I’m not wasting time, living in a memory…’; we should not hang onto our mistakes, and beat ourselves up over every thingthat we have done wrong. God forgives and loves us, so we should forgive ourselves! This up tempo song, along with Samuel’s passionate and earnest vocals, serves as the perfect entree for the closing track.
“Hold Us All Together”, is once again on the topic of God’s love, which is the running theme throughout the whole album. Prophesying over the listeners that ‘…nothing is bigger than, nothing is stronger than Your love, Your love, it holds us all together…’; Samuel’s vibrant worshipful energy is infectious as an anthemic stadium like feel is created as the song progresses; and I can’t help but declare this God given truth aloud as well. God’s love is the glue in the machine called life, and without it; life loses its meaning. So there it is- reminder after reminder from Luminate that God’s love is the core ingredient in the ‘life’ cake!
If Come Home was more radio pop friendly, then Welcome To Daylight is definitely more rockier, and more sophisticated. Luminate have toiled hard, and their work has certainly paid off, both musically and lyrically- this is one of my favourite albums in August! As said by Samuel, “…We strive to love as Christ did, realizing that God moves in and through everything, and knowing it’s all a part of a master plan designed by the Creator of the universe. It’s realizing that not only is God stronger than our weakness, but He is a loving Father who delights in His children spending time pursuing Him and fulfilling His plan for our lives…”, God is in control of every aspect of our lives, and through these songs, it is clear to hear that the running theme- giving control of our lives to God, and then living life without any reservations; is certainly the way we should live. What a well thought out and executed concept on these 11 tracks- it is definitely hard to believe that Welcome To Daylight is Luminate’s 2nd album! Samuel, Cody, Dusty and Aaron should be very proud of themselves- this explosive pop rock sometime electronic album has the quartet firmly at the top of my favourite albums for this year! And I believe the only way to go is up for this young band! Well done to Chris Stevens and Pete Kipley as well, for masterfully crafting a treasure for the ages!
- Welcome to Daylight (3:12)
- Wake Up (3:33)
- Banner of Love (3:42)
- Heal This Home (3:39)
- The Only Thing That Matters (4:10)
- Never Give Up (3:30)
- Battle for Peace (4:13)
- This Ends Tonight (3:00)
- Love Is Loud (3:44)
- Living In A Memory (2:49)
- Holds Us All Together (4:32)
Favourite Tracks: Welcome To Daylight, Banner of Love, Heal This Home, Love Is Loud, Hold Us All Together