First, the details. Bridge Music is the musical duo of Jon and Shea Althoff, and their goal is “connecting the truth of God’s Word to the hearts of His people through song” (from their website). New Has Come is a six song EP of music they’ve been using in their local church for the past few years and are now sharing with the world.
Overall, I was really impressed with New Has Come. The production is tight, the harmonies are beautiful, and the music itself demands your attention without being overly distracting.
The EP kicks off well with “Alive In Him,” which features a really nice intro that immediately reminded me of U2, and that’s always a good thing in my book. The verses are more subdued, which allows the expansive chorus to really soar.
Another great track is “At The Cross,” the third song on the EP. This one features Shea on lead vocals, so immediately it has a very different feel. I’m not sure this one would be a great congregational number, but I think it would be excellent for special music or something more performance oriented. The chorus is really spacious, and it’s balanced by more delicate sounding verses that are punctuated with staccato strings.
The EP wraps up with “I Am With You Now,” a really nice song about God’s presence in our lives through Christ’s resurrection.
But the standout track is definitely the second song: “Be Exalted O God.” I love the sweet acoustic guitar that drives the intro and outro. The song never falls prey to sounding the same all the way through as it has texture to spare. From the subdued verse to driving chorus, there’s a lot to like here. But the surprise hit me about two and a half minutes in. Following the second verse, I was expecting a big bridge that would really rock. Instead, I heard what sounded like a small choir singing, which built back into the chorus. It was a totally unexpected twist and it totally works. This song also features my favorite lyric on the EP, about worshipping in fear and awesome wonder.
Jon and Shea have graciously made most of the chords sheets available for free on their website. I love when worship artists do that, because it shows that they want to remove as many obstacles as possible from people using their songs in the local church.