Father, Son, and Holy Ghost | Posted June 20, 2012 Staff Reviewer
California Indie band Lovelite--comprised of husband-wife songwriting team Andrew and Jen Polfer, along with Brandon Burr and Jonathan Hall--have released In Three Persons, their third full-length project to date. Musically, Lovelite is an interesting blend of retro and modern: part '80s new-wave, part Euro-pop and Indie rock. The band definitely has a unique sound, and they are a refreshing change from the standard modern worship radio fare.
In Three Persons focuses on the triune nature of God. In fact, prior to the album's release, Lovelite presented the songs as three EPs--The Faithful Father, His Beloved Son, and Our Holy Ghost--each focused on a part of the Trinity. In Three Persons, instead of being the EPs pasted into a larger whole, has its own integrated track list which takes the three strands and weaves them together.
For ease, I'm going to group the songs thematically rather than discuss them in sequenced order. Lovelite begins and ends the record with Holy Spirit based songs: "Brother Sister" and "Our Holy Ghost." The former, which speaks of inviting the Holy Spirit into our lives, is a suitable opener to a worship set. "Teach Me" is a prayerful song that begins wide open and dirge-like, but eventually is augmented by synth, bass, and a snare playing a battle march. Andrew's vocals ask the Holy Spirit to teach him "patience in the fire... gentleness toward hate... to be wanting only You."
"Sand and Stone," with its outro "PS," rounds out the songs written about the Holy Spirit. Together, the two tracks clock in at over six minutes, and evoke an atmosphere characteristic of the Holy Ghost. The refrain for "Sand and Stone" is simple but effective: "You gave us a gift / by sending us a ghost / to bring us peace / when we need it most / Come in and dwell / by making us your home / Soften our hearts / and bring us strength to our bones."
Now let's talk about the songs that focus on Jesus as Messiah. The first is "Heart Starts Beating," the album's energetic second track that definitely jump starts this project! Driving drums and melodic guitar riffs support the dual lead vocals of Andrew and Jen. The track perfectly harnesses the energy and vigor that spiritual awakening brings. "Your death awakens me to life / And my heart starts beating / my heart starts beating."
"Overcome" is another rocker which talks about our Edenic fall and the present state of darkness in our world, but gives thanks to Jesus who overcame the Cross to bring us mercy and hope. The thoughtful "Every Breath is a Chance" uses harmonies and layered vocals as it explores our need to rise above our selfishness and brokenness and live a purposeful, Christ-centered life. "All Fair" is a love song to Jesus, centered around a lyric from Song of Solomon 4:7: "You are all fair, my love / and there is no spot in You." This gorgeous number is a stunning showcase for Jen Polfer's emotive vocals and a track not to be missed!
"Wonderful Jesus" begins as a piano ballad, sung first by Andrew, then by Andrew and Jen in tandem, before breaking open into a full-band interlude. It then returns to a quiet place before segueing into the album's closing song.
Worship anthem "King of Love" is not an entirely new song, but one that Andrew and Jen rewrote recently with the aid of Phil Wickham. A melodic song in the style of Depeche Mode, you'll find yourself singing along to the refrain: "Glory to the King of love / You are lifted high above / Great are You in all Your ways / You will never be replaced."
"Collided" centers on God as Father and Creator, the title stemming from the fact that God "collided justice and mercy." The fragmented lyrical lines mesh well with highly percussive music to create a punchy and rhythmic song that is infectiously vibrant in its praise of our Heavenly Father. The two-and-a-half minute "Your Love is as Wide as It's Tall" inserts a quiet space for contemplation that touches on our fruitless attempt to wall up our hearts which inherently connect us to God: "There's a secret hidden in our skin / Of this ancient hope we have within."
Andrew entreats: "Forgive us, for we are small / and we often forget that / Your love is as wide as it's tall." Though brief, this song is compelling, and I found myself wishing it had been longer. Jen, with occasional support from Andrew, sings "Strength of the Father's Love." Beautiful, bright, and hymn-like, it's a fitting tribute to a loving God who created a world for us and brought us a promised Savior when we needed Him most.
Although you may be unfamiliar with Lovelite, they deserve a listen. Musically creative and unique, the band has created a lush soundscape on In Three Persons to sing praises to our triune God. I especially applaud them for writing several songs about the under-represented Holy Spirit. Both Andrew and Jen have expressive voices that, combined with the music, create an atmosphere conducive to worship, prayer, and contemplation. Highlights include "Heart Starts Beating", "King of Love", "Every Breath is a Chance", "All Fair" and "Strength of the Father's Love."