Record #442: Kings Kaleidoscope – Becoming Who We Are (2014)

becoming who we areOnce upon a time, the Church was the center of all high art. Most important musical and artistic works during the Renaissance were commissioned by the Church to announce the mysteries of the Divine.

But over the last few hundred years, things have changed. Christian art is now the realm of cheap, oversentimental schlock that sells on sentiment alone.

Kings Kaleidoscope has had enough of it.

For all intents and purposes, Kings Kaleidoscope is a worship band. At the time of this record, Kings Kaleidoscope was on the payroll at the Mars Hill Church in Seattle (yes, the same Mars Hill that the controversial Mark Driscoll helmed). In fact, the disillusion of Mars Hill following Driscoll’s resignation almost doomed this record to exile.

And that would have been a tragedy indeed, because this album is stunning.

Led by singer Chad Gardner’s powerful voice, the band’s sonic palette is a whirl of woodwinds, synthesizers, xylophones, and electric guitars. The songs are equally as broad, ranging from soulful R&B to energetic indie rock to hip-hop (“Felix Culpa” sounds like a little like a Kanye West/Minus the Bear mashup with a big horn section). Which fits, because Gardner’s lyrics run through a sort of honesty that spans the breadth of human emotion.

From the jubilant “Glorious” to the forlorn “Zion,” every moment of this record is dripping with earnestness. Most of the tracks are mingled with a thousand shades of different moods. Because let’s be honest: knowing that God will carry you through the fire isn’t 100% comforting.

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