Signs of the Times album
Louder Than The Music Signs Of The Times is the debut album by David Paul & The People. Having commenced recording songs for this album in late 2007, as his former band Beyond was dismantling, ‘Signs of the Times’ was a focused attempt by David Paul to make music that deals with everyday issues. Now with 12tribe records the band are about to release this album after much prayer to get this new band formed with David Paul at the helm. But what does this album sound like?
There is something quite Radiohead and The Eels about opening track Better Man, indie rock at it’s best. Creative, dark and passionate would be a way to describe this strong opener with the lines “And in my disgrace God taught me this, He Loves the sinner, the sinners face. He bore my shame the sinner’s replace” being soaked in real meaning. The indie rock sound continues with Could It Be and Stronger, both of these songs I could imagine being played live on a Friday night in a music venue and going down very well with a live crowd.
Being a fan of music in the 90’s I was a big Oasis and Britpop fan, and Silent Heroes has that vibe, with a guitar riff reminding me of those great times. I really enjoy the track White Horse Rider, I have to admit this album isn’t your traditional Christian sounding album, which actually is great a thing. It’s raw and different, and a songwriters album. As said, White Horse Rider will not be the kind of song you would hear in a Sunday church meeting, but the lyrics are still very intriguing and powerful and not the obvious words to write about, and that’s what I like about this album, nothing is obvious. I love the line “Behold a sharp sword, coming from his mouth, By which he’ll strike the nations”.
Light To My Path has a more mellow middle of the road tempo to it. But for me this is where we get to hear David Paul’s unique vocal style flourish. His voice isn’t as clean cut as some American worship leaders, and I don’t want it to be, there is an honest raw character to his voice which is nice to hear once in a while, especially as it works amazingly well with these songs. I love musicians with character.
Another track that shows off the character off this band is the amazing The Camel & The Needle, at times it sounds like a mix between The Stone Roses, The La’s and The Beatles during their Sgt Peppers days. The repeated line of “O My Soul march, march, on in strength now” has something very Beatles about it. Even though this track doesn’t make my top three, closing track Dayspring will be one of your favorites if you like any of the bands I have mentioned above.
Within this album there are a good mix of songs, as I said previously these tracks would go down well in a live venue, it’s a kind of songwriters album. What I mean by that is David Paul has been allowed to be himself without falling into a cliched sound or style to create Christian music. If you’re looking for something a bit different and indie-rock, and someone who uses a few different styles of rock music, then please have a look at what David Paul & The People are doing.
Review by Jono Davies, 25 January 2012.
LTTM Rating 3.5 Out of 5 Stars
White Horse Rider
The Camel & The Needle
The debut album from this Northern Irish four-piece offers intriguing, utterly original Christian music and, we hope, a taste of things to come.
If you close your eyes and think of the apocalypse you might think of dark, swirling black clouds. If you were to close your eyes and choose a soundtrack for that moment you might find it in “White Horse Rider”, an unusual track on what has got to be one of the most intriguing Christian music projects on the go at the moment.
The word ‘project’ suits David Paul & the People because there is something about their debut album that sounds like the first chink in a chain of progress. After all, segments of the music to “Signs of the Times” were recorded four or five years ago, around the time that David Paul’s previous band, Beyond Jericho, was starting to wind down.
Christian music has seen a pretty monumental shift in the last few years spearheaded by the likes of Rend Collective and Gungor; a search for musical and spiritual authenticity that is seeing the moulds of Christian music broken again and again. David Paul & the People fit somewhere in that expanding experimental niche.
There is absolutely nothing predictable about Signs of the Times, from the restrained rock in “Could It Be”, to the captivating indie ballad “Light to my Path”, to the optimistic and slightly ethereal “Dayspring”.
It’s as if the band dipped into their repertoire of favourite rock influences from the last half century and blended them into their own musical creation. Cast your mind back to the melancholic rock of the Seventies or even the Stone Roses and other indie rock outfits of the Nineties. Replace the rough edges with Paul’s tender, throw-away vocal style (think Ash), and the People’s gentle guitar riffs, and you would be close. You would be forgiven for digging out your old vinyl collections and cassettes to put your finger on just who it is they sound like.
The seriousness of the lyrics and the overall tone of the tracks makes this more of an album for contemplative live session lovers. It will undoubtedly have a narrower draw than mainstream Christian music – if CCM is your thing you might not get what David Paul & the People are trying to convey.
There are times when the album sounds like it could do with some fine-tuning, and there is something simple, even novice-like, about the compositions lyrically and musically. In that sense, this is an album that will have no appeal whatsoever to sticklers for musical precision.
But what David Paul & the People lack in refinement, they more than make up for with sheer originality and pluckiness. There is just too much original and interesting music in this collection to dismiss. There is also something pleasant about the unshowy and unpretentious delivery of their music. They may be artistic, but their egos are in check.
For those whose appetite for mould-breaking Christian music has been whetted by the big names staking out the centre ground in this genre, take a chance with David Paul & the People. There’s a good chance you’ll be hooked.
Our verdict: Definitely a band to watch.
Published 05 April 2012.