Review: Unspoken – The World is Waking EP
Following and serving God wholeheartedly takes surrender – whether that means giving up control, letting go of the past, trusting Him with our lives or even laying them down in sacrifice. That’s the message and theme that loosely ties together the third album from Unspoken. After the Get To Me EP introduced them with the hit single “Who You Are,” the soulful pop-rock quartet now returns with five more songs on The World Is Waking EP.
The first two tracks are pretty standard CCM radio fare. “Lift My Life Up” is a soft rock song with a catchy, church-friendly chorus – “I lift my life, lift my life up / I give it all in surrender / I lift my heart, lift my heart up / You can have it forever.” It includes a few lines of the hymn, “Take My Life and Let It Be,” which is a nice touch. The soulful “Everything” describes the quiet confidence that comes after that decision to let go and trust God, no matter what happens.
The album title appears during “In Your Hands,” in the first verse – “The dawn is breaking and I can hear Your whisper in the breeze / The world is waking and I am here to meet You on my knees.” The lyrics show depth and artistry here, and the chorus feels reflective instead of just repetitive. The slower track dials back the slick production a little, bringing out the emotion and impressive range in lead singer Chad Mattson’s voice. It starts with a guitar strumming a soothing melody, before the drums and keyboards bring a taste of gospel and R&B. “Walking Away” continues to add musical flavors with jaunty piano plunking and a laid-back groove. Here, Mattson hints at his history of addiction and celebrates the freedom that comes with leaving the past behind for better things. Both of these songs start to reveal the band’s creativity and diverse influences. Bassist John Lowry is from Mattson’s home state of Maine, Guitarist Mike Gomez is from the Dominican Republic and drummer Ariel Munoz is from Puerto Rico.
But it’s not until the closing track, “Bury the Workman,” that Unspoken is finally unleashed. The verses recount the violent deaths of martyrs Stephen, James and Peter, which seems like unusually grim fare for a pop CCM tune. The chorus, though, is full of determination and triumph, inspired by a saying the band heard in a church one day – “You can bury the workman but the work will go on / And you can silence the voices but you can’t stop the song / When the Spirit’s moving, His will will be done / You can bury the workman but the work will go on.” To capture the raw emotion and soul of the song, the band members gathered together in the studio to record it live. Their voices sing in harmony to a boot-stomping, hand-clapping rhythm, accompanied by stripped-down guitars and a harmonica. It’s a fun song, but also a challenging one that calls Christians to continue the work of their fallen brothers and sisters.
Fans of Unspoken’s previous work will enjoy their modest growth on The World Is Waiting EP, and the final track is worth a listen or three. Those looking for something different, though, may want to wait for a full-length release to see whether the band freely explores the potential shown here.