Aaron Strumpel: Vespers: 1 & 2
Style: Raw but contemplative worship; compare to Woven Hand, Son Lux, Josh Garrels
Top tracks: "I Sing," "Born Again"
Aaron Strumpel worships as if his life is hanging in the balance. Like his breakthrough 2008 album Elephants, Vespers mostly borrows its lyrics from the Psalms and its sound from a raw mix of strident folk, wailing trumpet, and clattering percussion. As befitting its title, this six-song EP is slightly more quiet and contemplative, but it is no less visceral or moving. "Born Again" builds to a glorious crescendo of praise, while "I Sing" moves from a pensive piano ballad expressing fear and doubt to a nearly symphonic plea for God to storm a hardened heart. These are urgent prayers for the close of day.
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