When Uncle Tupelo split (the once great pioneer in alt-county world) a section of the world mourned. Hindsight, shows not the loss of a single group, but a double portion of what we loved so much with the formation of two new bands (Son Volt and Wilco). With their debut Evening:Morning, The Digital Age is going a long way in keeping the their side of the arrangement; it contains tones of David Crowder*Band, but it stands starkly unique … and excellent.
With an eclectic musical approach one part Americana-rock with the driving kick, one part ambient-electronica with its washes of digital ash, and one part guitar-driven punk-pop rock, The Digital Age keeps the standard they waved for over a decade when the quartet made up all but two members of David Crowder*Band. Let there be no doubt, the depth of the now defunct DC*B is more than evident in this exceptional release. So yes, The Digital Age was one of the most influential bands in Christian music; of course that was when they held a different name. On their own, they actually exceed expectation. Songs are anthemic and emotive, solidly anchored to the love that “is an avalanche” found in the grace, love, and peace of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Once being fronted by a very distinctive voice, TDA’s vocals are now both grittier and prettier (provided Mike Dodson and backed by Mark Waldrop). If it was either one or the other, there would be a bit of a letdown; however the combination of tones keeps them solidly unique and forward-singing. The new prayers offered will be most useful in worship sets that already have a strong instrumental ability to burn slow and reach soaring crescendos with songs like “I Believe” and “Overcome.” However, “Captured” and “God of Us All,” both up-tempo, are completely accessible to the volunteer worship team.
Thematically the record moves from brokenness to restoration, i.e. evening to morning. Abundant grace and its pursuit of a wondering heart act as the call to worship. Songs then move toward the freedom of sanctification and the destruction of what holds sinners captive. The third act moves into a focus on the redemption of all things found in Jesus Christ—the benediction and true crescendo. And then we are awake.
More: The Digital Age is the best new addition to the worship genre this year.
Less: Some passion gets lost in the production. We need to hear some of the musical faults and organic tones if we want to feel the true power of a song like “Break Every Chain.”
Read an interview with The Digital Age’s Mike Dodson here.