remission flow, Rhythms of grace, Sounding somewhere between a rougher Chris Tomlin and a more electric Rend Collective, this Irish band rises above its limitations to make a warm, inspiring album that's enjoyable to listen to.

Label: 7Core Music
Time: 11 Tracks / 41 minutes

This is a sneaky little album. I keep thinking I have some of it sussed, but then another listen defies my earlier impressions.

Is it or is not too CCM-y? Are the lyrics fresh or too jargonised? Do they or do they not sound Irish? Is the sound fresh or copied? The answers to all of these are, "A bit of both."

The lyrics have their shortcomings. I did a double-take when listening to "Lay Down" and the line, "I wanna... feel your heart beating next to mine." Had I not just heard that? Yes, three tracks earlier they sang, "I wanna feel your heart beat next to mine."

The text on their YouTube video for "Before the Dawn" tells how the song is about, "the everyday anxiety and worry that many of us face before the start of each day," but – like a lot of CCM songs – the everyday part is glossed over quickly in order to get to the bit about praising God. Because the listener doesn't have time to get into the worrying experience, the praising part has less effect and the overall impression is just of yet another song about singing to God.

That said, this is a track that still has plenty in its favour. Lyrics like, "You hold me up when my heart is beaten down... thrill my soul when my eyes cannot leave the ground" are fresher than the usual CCM material; and the chorus (which stays in the head for several days) has a couple of real kicks to it.

"More Like You" sounds distractingly like Gerry Rafferty's "Whatever's Written in your Heart" – no bad thing, and it gives an idea of their melodic flow. The tunes are strong enough to carry the weight of repeated plays.

The Remission Flow come from Ireland and there are similarities at one end with Rend Collective (before they lost their inventive edge). However, this band is more electric, even on the slow and quiet sections, giving their sound more warmth, if surprisingly little sonic variety for a seven-piece. On the other side of their impact is their passion, which largely comes through Darren Mulligan's warmly distinctive Irish voice. It is the spark that sets alight even weak material, such as opener "Grace and Truth," which otherwise is somewhat repetitive, with clumsy lyrics.

Most of the disc is driven by a fervour bridled only by the songs' welcome rise and fall – an unpredictable pattern that sets them apart from the many factory-made songs around.

The bass playing is solid and effective. Piano cuts in occasionally, but keys feel very much in the background. The band really is about passionately sung songs, with guitar amplifying the mood, chords hanging in the air during their more formula-free pauses.

If the band works on its lyrics, while retaining its emotional clout and irresistible melodies, The Remission Flow could connect with a lot of people.


Derek Walker

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