I wonder whether the duo realised how appropriate their name is when they came up with it. They do so much so right, so simply.
Label: Integrity Music
Time: 11 tracks / 39 mins.
If you want to get something right, start with the right approach. The Brilliance do that so well, balancing various options; getting so much in and cutting out so much that could clutter up what they do. What remains is simple, inventive, understated, healthy, useful and – best of all – it reflects the brilliance of God so clearly.
Take “Gravity of Love.” It is simple, singable and short. But within that, The Brilliance (principally David Gungor and John Arndt) manage to be both eternal and contemporary in the way they form the lyrics. They will please those who want the same-old in every worship song (repeating the psalm, “I lift my eyes up to the hills”) but they also use a twenty-first century perspective, to keep the song fresh:
“This is the gravity of love: Just as the moon follows the sun,
You’re all around me, you’re holding everything.
This is the hope of every man, just as the universe expands,
Your love is reaching, you’re holding everything.”
They do a similar thing with “Night has Passed / Morning has Broken,” which is a wonderful way to start the day. It is an invitation to rejoice from the very beginning. It is grateful for the day ahead and it frames a snatch of the old hymn “Morning has Broken” with phrasing (as did Third Day before them) that owes much to the Cat Stevens version. They give us good reason to sing its chorus, “We rejoice.” We feel the reasons and the song then amplifies that, making us feel even more enthusiastic.
“See the Love” has a choral backing that sounds straight out of The Mission soundtrack (yes, it is the second time I have written that in a few reviews, but as we say in Britain, like buses...).
You can relate to this disc, enjoy it and use it to worship God, whether you love or loathe Hillsong, and whether you are right wing or left wing in your politics. No wonder they can sing:
“Love is turning over tables, tearing down walls
Building up the bridges between us all”
“Turning over Tables” is another song that has it all: you can sing the hook so easily; it has a stripped back style that owes as much to gospel as it does to pop; and it urges hearers to engage in a radical love that sees God in the stranger – so needed in his Trumpian world.
Throughout the disc, the duo displays a humility that both disarms and encourages. There are songs about love breaking us, about laying down our weapons, about the mess we live in, healing and being made whole.
In contrast to the typical worship songs that rely on a selfish feel-good vagueness, this disc – like its fine predecessor – offers concrete lyrics about love in action and does not shy away from where that all has to come from. “Who is Jesus” does what the title suggests and puts Jesus at the heart of this culture of love.
Musically, they are very stripped down, almost like a Taizé for the new century, enhancing that up-front vocal with occasional colouring from anything as diverse as piano, synth, guest vocals or strings – but they never feel plain and boring.
It may be short, but it probably has more riches than most worship discs you’ll hear this year. This is another Brilliance collection that comes highly recommended.