We’ve teamed up with our friends over at One Man In The Middle to bring you regular, unbiased and honest reviews of music albums and EPs aimed at the Christian marketplace. This week we have Here & Now by Dave Griffiths with an overall review score of 8 out of 10.
Dave Griffiths is a singer/songwriter/worship leader based in sunny Bournemouth. Full time in music since 2008, Dave has cut his own groove making influential and critically acclaimed albums with BOSH and Chaos Curb.
2013 saw Dave release his debut solo material, a mixture of out-and-out rock, soul-bearing ballad and rootsy pop – all shot through with faith, hope and love. Now he is back with more Kingdom reflection and an album which looks at what it really means to be a child of God.
The name Dave Griffiths may not ring any bells for you when you think of the Christian music scene, this is only his second solo album, so perhaps you would be more familiar with his former band BOSH, or maybe when they parted and he founded Chaos Curb Collaboration which toured with Martin Smith in 2014? If you are familiar with these bands then you will probably be aware of their reputation for loud guitars and excellent anthems. With this album it seems there is a more mellowed and mature writer and instrumentalist.
“Here & Now” is the title of the album and also the first track and it comes from some teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven is not something in the future to look forward to, but something that we can live in here and now. This is still a radical concept for many Christians that there is little clear teaching on in the Christian market. This is a bit of a big thing to take on in a song, but don’t worry Dave isn’t delving into the theology too much, instead He is looking at how this spiritual presence of heaven is with us. Despite the subject matter being fairly meaty there is still the opportunity for some great guitar work.
The songs on this album are brilliantly laced with Biblical imagery. “Awake!” the second track is a call for Christians to wake up, which echoes Ephesians 5v18 in it’s encouragement as Christ will shine on you. I love the chorus which sees Dave question himself “How can I be thirsty when I am the reservoir? / How can I be hungry when I never leave the feast?” Christians have everything they need to perform the tasks that God would ask them too. There is more of this kind of imagery in “Son” where it talks about learning to be a child of God, and to consider ourselves as sons (and daughters) of God, and how this looks in our lives with freedom in adoption.
“Yeshua” is not what I was expecting, it is a simple vocal with a plucked acoustic guitar and some light melody in the background. It is a listing of some of the expressions and names of Jesus. Similar things have been done in the past but this is a nice gentle track that conveys power behind each name.
“10 Years” is a surprisingly personal song to his wife and a look at the differences that 10 years of life together have brought. Again this is a gentle vocal as befits a love song. Unlike many love songs this is short on hyperbole and full of truth, care, companionship and ultimately real life experience of two people being together.
“Pure Revelry” brings a funky beat which is fitting for a song about the fullness of joy found in Jesus. Pure Revelry is also a new thing being done by Dave and his Chaos Curb team – basically an older version of one of Ishmael’s praise parties (for those of us who remember them). It’s all about enjoying being in the presence of a loving Father and having fun and worshipping him. This idea also transfers to “Wild Like Children” which is putting us as worshippers in the place of Children in an exciting garden of your family. This track starts by telling us “Our big brother came to find us, and carry us back home” which is a great intro to thinking about the family of God that we are adopted into. There is a great freedom in this view of our life in God’s family and it’s one that we don’t always think about – so it’s great to have this encapsulated so well in a song.
This is probably what this album has been best at – opening the mind to solid Biblical concepts that we don’t always think about because we are too busy. Dave has expressed some complex thoughts about what the Kingdom of God should be in our minds, instead of pie in the sky when we die, he is trying to express it in an earthly fashion that we can experience it now. We have freedom bought by our big brother who has come to find us to bring us home – this freedom is to have joy in our standing in the family of God. If we reflected this kingdom thinking in the way we face the world then perhaps we, through our freedom, joy and the Holy Spirit we would be more effective at being salt and light in this world.
The music hasn’t taken second place to the lyrics on this album. There are still some great guitar sounds but it feels as though it is lacking something, maybe it’s the band dynamic in the music bringing different nuances from the instruments into the track.
My favourite tracks are “Awake!”, “Yeshua”, “10 Years” and “Wild Like Children” but every song is worth a listen and as a blend of styles is refreshing from the quieter ballads and real-life love song of “10 Years” to the freedom of “Pure Revelry”.
For track listing, ranking breakdown and more check out onemaninthemiddle.com