With the full-length follow-up to the EP (released about a year ago), the Brothers McClurg offer an extended version of what was hinted at in the shorter one: clean and clear tones of rock meeting folk/country and one of the most enjoyable releases of the year. Let’s start off with a little band name clarification: Brother’s McCLurg is fronted by a pair of brothers; their surname, however, is not McCLurg it is Hoisington (Anthony and Chris Hoisington). The “McClurg” comes from their maternal grandfather and is used to honor him. That little confusion out of the way, the music is delightfully uncomplicated. Touches of an indie sound color the overall tone, but that’s mostly because Bros McClurg have refused to be defined by the Atlanta rock sound so prevalent in the worship genre. In reality they are a nice modern sonic combination of Steven Curtis Chapman and Shane & Shane. Outside of the musical approach, the Bros have set themselves apart as remarkable songwriters (and songwriting collaborators)—the worship in Join In the Sound paints beautiful portraits of the God who shines—even through his broken people (“You Shine Through”); who is the first to chase and forgive his redeemed people (“Forgiven Forever”); and who brings life to his people who are dying when away from him (“Alive”), among many other musical tales of God’s worth.
The “brotherhood” of Brothers McClurg is a moniker with broad connotations and participants including, certainly, the brothers Hoisington, but also their home worshiping communities, and the co-songwriters found in the liner notes. Artists such as Paul Baloche, Glenn Packiam, Don Poythress, Mark Harris, Anthony Skinner, Carl Cartee, Mia Fieldes, All Sons & Daughters, and Rend Collective Experiment—basically the “who’s who” on the Integrity/Kingsway writing roster—joined in Join in the Sound, and it yielded an incredible depth of lyrical design and a substantial range of melodic flow. Join In the Sound is both deep and wide.
More: In a classic-yet-completely-modern acoustic-rock sensibility, this band of brothers mixed passion and creativity with their powerful devotional songwriting chops to offer one of the best debut releases this year.
Less: The sax prelude in “Come to the Fount” is the only misstep of an incredible offering (of course being brave enough to go with the sax there? Kind of awesome).