Edens Bridge First Leaf as reviewed in The Phantom TollboothEden’s Bridge opens the book of nature and draws spiritual parallels.

First Leaf EP
Artist: Eden’s Bridge (www.edensbridge.net)
Label: Independent
Length: 5 tracks/30 minutes

Scripture provides the order: first the natural, then the spiritual (1 Cor. 15:46). The apostle Paul makes this point in his discussion of the resurrection of the dead. The natural body, which comes first, is raised a spiritual body.

Similarly, Psalm 19 depicts God’s two books: the book of nature (vv.1-6) and the book of Scripture (vv.7-11). God reveals himself in both, though more specifically in the latter. The psalmist moves from the natural to the spiritual.

On The Winter Sings and First Leaf, Eden’s Bridge looks into the book of nature, focusing on the winter and spring seasons respectively, highlighting spiritual parallels. They provide a welcome sense of discovery as they move from the natural to the spiritual.

Their remarkable insights drawn from God’s two books are expressed in subtle ways both lyrically and musically, putting these releases among the most artistic statements the band has ever made. It builds anticipation for the two forthcoming EPs, covering summer and fall, and a full-length release in 2012.

The music covers a broad spectrum and is often layered, which combined with the thoughtful lyrics provide a depth not as evident on earlier recordings. Don’t expect popular covers or a praise and worship chorus. This is more sophisticated with a variety of sonic and literary textures just waiting to be explored.

Despite the complexity, a song like “Unfreeze” is built around simple chord changes that the band adds and subtracts from, creating ebb and flow. The title track starts with bleak sounds from an electric guitar, which depicts the dying gasps of winter. A magical swirl of sounds then ushers in that first leaf of spring. The music conveys the change from the barrenness of winter to the new life of spring.

These songs contain more contrast than the first EP. “Tipping Point” is built around intricate percussion reminiscent of a time piece. This is broken-up and elongated by sweeping rock riffs that fill the chorus.

There is a buoyancy in the opening “Arise to Life” that sees in spring a metaphor for Christ’s resurrection.

These new releases may not be as accessible for those who like the simplicity of some of the band’s earliest work. Patient listeners, however, may find this more satisfying. These first two EPs hold up well to repeated listens, rewarding on the surface but also containing treasures for those who want something more. It was worth the wait to get the original Eden’s Bridge back, making the best music of their career.

Michael Dalton