Before There Was
Bellarive’s sophomore album takes praise music to new places by matching a sense of the sacred with a desire to be musically distinct. Building on the strengths of their debut EP and first long-player, the Florida-based sextet praise the Creator with an immediacy that’s both spiritual and visceral. Case in point: “Lazarus,” a brooding hosanna with post-grunge overtones that captures both the majesty and mystery of its biblical theme. Sean Curran sings with an enraptured air that gives him an oracular quality, as if he were witnessing the miraculous acts described in his lyrics firsthand. The melodic sweetness of tracks like “Save Us,” “Chains,” and “Hallelujah, to Saving Grace” is anchored by exalted lyric imagery and stately rhythms. In the tradition of The David Crowder Band, Bellarive find ways to craft radio-friendly tunes without compromising their integrity, as the uplifting “Let There Be Light” and the pulsating “Bring Us Back” show. The electronica-tinged “From the Very Start” provides a contemplative coda to this outstanding, refreshingly different worship project.