"Hebrews" by Psallos
Release Date: November 17, 2017
My Format: Bandcamp, CD
A few years ago I caught wind of a project my friend Cody Curtis was working on - a musical setting of the book of Romans, spanning the entire book in multiple styles and genres. I thought it was a brilliant idea - sometimes the coherency of Scripture is lost in the way we consume it (often a few verses or a chapter at a time). I expected Romans would do a good job of presenting the text holistically, but Cody and the group of insanely talented musicians blew my expectations out of the water. Romans was inimitable, serious, excellent, ambitious, comprehensive, and flawlessly executed.
A few years later here we are with the second full length offering from Psallos, a musical setting of an equally giant and dense book, Hebrews. Track one has that orchestral-tuning effect of settling you down in your seat, previewing the whole book / album in the style of Romans' most grandiose musical themes as it transliterates Hebrews 1:1-4 into song. The sweeping movement transitions into a light bluegrass-y tune (Hebrews 1:5-14) which is, again, executed perfectly, including a cheeky lifting of some familiar melodies and lyrics. On it goes, with each song addressing themes in 4 to 20 verse sections.
The best of Hebrews are songs like "Ex Paradiso" which perfectly matches form and function (the lead female vocals by Kelsie Leaf are flawless). Listening, I was so impressed with how the song leads you through the heart and precise-ness of the original material, delivering it clearly and effectively. I've read Hebrews numerous times, but listening to this has proved to be perhaps the most effective way the richness of the questions and answers inside the words has connected with me. Many songs mirror the awe, wonder, and hope of "Ex Paradiso", many, like "Take Care", approach the solemn warnings and serious subjects, with seriousness and solemnity, and musical form to match. As with Romans, there are so many styles covered here...including the previously mentioned epics, ballads & bluegrass, spot on modern acoustic singer/songwriter, pop, broadway-musical-lite, rock, kids' music, and even something a little Coldplay-esque (maybe? in "Peace On Earth"? bear with me - I'm thinking Ghost Stories era EP with brighter tracks informed by AROBTTH era drums).
I got chills recognizing the the scope and ambition of Cody's larger vision listening to "In the Past", seeing how effortlessly he not only covers Hebrews but relates back to Romans. This is an excellent piece of work. You owe it to yourself to listen. God is glorified in the clear communication of the Bible, and you'll be edified in the listening.
"Your guitar is an ineffectual type."