DEWMusic for the reflective spirit with lots of heart and bold, creative sound.
A refreshing and thoughtful debut from Dew.....

We Belong to the Day

Dew (Marlou & Frank Van Essen)
Dew Age Music
14 tracks / 78:28

If you must have your categories and sub-genres you might be tempted to file We Belong to the Day under 'Praise and Worship' – but that would be a shame. I say that because the wonderful debut album by Dew (Marlou and Frank Van Essen), aside from being quite worshipful at times, rises far above and apart from the limited and often uninspiring efforts of the aforementioned genre. We Belong to the Day effectively proves that music created with God and scripture at its center can be exciting, original and creatively inspiring all at the same time.

For the record, Frank Van Essen is the drummer for the equally spiritually-potent Celtic/Christian prog band, Iona. Seeing Iona in person for the first time this year, I was struck by the spiritual freedom that the band played with and was tremendously impressed by the power and passion of Van Essen behind the drum kit (I'll even admit to feeling a bit intimidated pointing my camera at the physically impressive Van Essen who, it turns out, is a big man with a tender spirit and tons of warmth!). The powerful percussionist also did a stunning job producing the album, singing, and playing drums, keyboards, violas and violins!

Marlou and her husband have written or co-written all of the songs, and it's that heart-felt personal touch (as well as astounding talent, of course) that separates this material from so much of the industry-driven 'praise and worship' projects that seem to say 'look at how I worship' instead of 'look at God.' This album points to the God of scripture.

Marlou's voice is essentially the voice of the album. Never over-singing, Marlou's effective delivery of her own lyrics is a pleasure to listen to – as if listening to a friend. Her lyrics aim horizontally as well as vertically, in a thankful posture for what God has given and with an awareness that now we have to do something about what we've been given. In the title track, after declaring that we belong to the King of Kings, she sings, "We were born for such a time as this / there's a calling on your lives / to bring freedom to the captives – be victorious as we fight / We'll defend the cause of widows / And for justice take a stand / Help the orphans and the poor ones / for The Kingdom is at hand," showing that real worship eventually leads to action.

Musically, We Belong to the Day certainly will remind you of Iona in places – especially on songs like "I Will Awaken the Dawn," with its percussive, celebratory feel and tandem violin and whistle runs eventually sounding like a dance in the fields. There are great sweeping musical moments as well as quieter passages. Frank shows that he has a wonderful vocal delivery on the songs he's the featured singer on, "Love" being a fine example of his rich, warm vocal tones. Almost a chamber piece, this truly fine interpretation of I Corinthians 13 is counterbalanced sonically by "Our God is a Consuming Fire," a hot, heavy, powerfully funky shout-out to The Creator, with some serious guitar lines and powerful drums.

The Van Essens' love for God, for their fellow man and for each other are all over this project. The best part about this album that many will call a 'praise and worship' album is that the human factor hasn't been left out. This is not a homogenized, faceless exercise but a real portrait of the hearts of two artists expressing their relationship with their God. This isn't pop, it's not prog, not exactly Celtic, not rock – these are what we sometimes call songs, like in Ephesians 5:19 – you know: ' psalms, hymns and spiritual songs ...' These songs will cause you to reflect, to celebrate, and perhaps to find a deeper way to serve.

Featured along with Frank and Marlou are Dave Bainbridge (keyboards & acoustic guitars), JayP Beyersbergen (electric & acoustic guitars), Phil Barker (bass), Troy Donockley (Uillean pipes, high & low whistles) and Luca Genta (cello & fretless Bass).

-Bert Saraco


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