Worship music is hard to write. There is a delicate balance that needs to be struck of simplicity in lyrics and melody without falling into metaphorical or musical stereotypes. Earth, the debut album from Cape Town’s Lightheart — strikes that balance very well.
Lightheart is South Africa’s Jacob Nicou, who did everything on the album (with the exception of the lyrics to one song, which were penned by his wife). Writing, performing, recording, mixing, and mastering. His debut full-length, Earth, is incredibly balanced and well put together, especially considering that it’s the product of a single mind.
Earth employs heavier post-rock textures in most tracks, with guitars growling and drums thundering in most of the tracks. As it stands, the album won’t likely make a lot of worship playlists due to its harsher textures. However, when these songs are boiled down to the melodies, vocals, and lyrics, they resemble the softer cuts from the album (“Bated Breath” and “Home”). These songs reveal that, at its core, Earth really is a worship album.
Moreover, it’s a worship album that isn’t repetitive. From song to song, the experience is fresh. “Thunder” jumps straight into the action, with crunchy guitars driving the song. “The Voice of God” builds in a traditional post-rock manner. Other track styles include slow-burners and acoustic ballads. The album is structured in a way that doesn’t cluster tracks too similar to close together, promoting an even flow.
The album has very few weaknesses. The lyrics perhaps venture into over-worn territory, and the vocals perhaps sometimes stray outside their strongest range.
That being said, Earth is a delightfully surprising worship album that should please those who don’t normally listen to worship music. The album harnesses the power of atmosphere and structural balance to present a strong listening experience.
Lightheart can be found at the following links.