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Lovely Is Death
Artist: Gabriel Wilson
Label: L-Town Records
Length: 8 songs / 29:52
With his first solo release, Gabriel Wilson, frontman of Rock & Roll Worship Circus/The Listening, pours out his broken heart in superbly ethereal form. Not merely an "acoustic" album, Lovely is Death is a poignant tapestry of sound, minimalist with accents of understated percussion and delay. It is the sound of a man purely empty and purely broken, rooted in the sweet simplicity of song. Yet what defines Wilson is not despair, but the labored joy and the flickering, unforced hope which weaves its way throughout the beautiful mess of sundered relationship in all its visceral - even holy - glory.
In "Now I Know Who My Friends Are," Wilson sings, "I went out to the church folk and I found a little hate / they gave me to the devils in hopes that I would break / but Jesus held my hands up when I got too tired to lift / he gave me wine to make me sleep and will to live again." The stark bitterness of the lyrics on the page is contrasted by the remarkable tenderness with which they are sung. It's evocative of the depth of forgiveness and grace of a God who, though otherwise largely unnamed, permeates the singer's spilled blood and tears. It is rare to find honest sincerity in "sad" music these days, but Wilson is genuine - and talented. The result is eight songs which transcend "good" to become timeless. It has been sometime since new material was released by Wilson, either on his own or with a group. Hopefully a new album is forthcoming soon.
[RYAN RO / CNXmusic.com]