An extended review of a 2021 music recording by The Color
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Dream Records, 2021. $15 TheColorOnline.com
While Winkler, Man., is known as the birthplace of numerous NHL players, Winkler is also the town that raised the creative duo behind the Canadian band The Color. Founding members Jordan Janzen and James Shiels grew up in Winkler playing music together. They attempted to carve out a career in music, but both reached a point when they thought they would have to let go of their dreams.
In fact, for a season both went into ministry full-time, with Jordan working as a youth pastor and James becoming a camp director. Over the next few years they maintained their friendship, but thoroughly thought music was in their rearview mirror. But God has a way of bringing our lives full circle, and after a few years it became clear this wasn't the end of a dream but a time of preparation for what God had planned next.
Soon two new band members, Tyson Unrau and Larry Abrams, joined up with Jordan and James and together the four are now known as The Color. They've been touring and recording music together for the past decade and recently released a full-length studio album titled No Greater Love under the label Dream Records.
The band had a unique way of choosing the tracks that made it onto No Greater Love. After having their tour plans put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the band focused on songwriting and came up with nearly 60 songs for their new studio release. The band came up with the idea of turning to their fans for help in narrowing down which songs would make the final cut. Fans picked their top five favourites, and the band used the feedback to finalize the track list. It's not surprising that the resulting album is filled with uplifting songs of encouragement from start to finish.
The album opens with “After My Heart,” a catchy number which reminds the listener that we don't have to earn our way to God, He is after our hearts not our accomplishments. “Not My Own” is a powerful song of surrender, reminding us our lives belong to God and we need to go where He leads us to whether its towards something ordinary or scary. “While Only He Can” is a song which could become both a prayer and an anthem of hope for anyone who is hurting: “When I call upon the Lord / All His promises will stand / He will make a way like only He can / I surrender my control / And I leave it in His hands / He will make a way like only He can / Every stronghold will crumble / Even death stands no chance / My God won't be defeated / And nothing holds Him back.”
The album stands out in that it is more a musical journey than the band fitting their music into a single format. “Better Way” could have easily found its way onto a Phil Wickham album, while “Stranger” is similar in style to some of tobyMac’s more recent music. The album also carries a minor EDM (electronic dance music) influence on songs like “No Greater Love” and the included remixes by Neon Feather of both “After My Heart” and “Call of the Wild.” All of the songs that combine to make up No Greater Love make it hard to put the musical style of The Color in a box, which perhaps might have been the point in the first place.
Whatever the case, The Color’s unique style is clearly working in their favour as the band had a three-year reign as Group of the Year from 2017 to 2019 at the GMA Covenant Awards. In 2022 the band received their second Juno Award as No Greater Love took home the award for Contemporary Christian/gospel album of the year. The latest award affirms there is something special about The Color, and No Greater Love is an album well worth picking up and putting on repeat.
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