Artist:  Barry Blaze
Title:  Patiently Waiting
Label:  Indie

It’s been a while since we’ve heard much from Barry Blaze, the gifted, prolific force behind Code of Ethics. But the lapse wasn’t due to flagging sales or industry travails. Blaze barely survived a 2004 motorcycle crash, and has spent the past few years undergoing various surgeries to restore his sight and hearing.

The aptly titled Patiently Waiting explores some of his questions and struggles during that process, but ultimately it celebrates the God who sustained him throughout. As always, Blaze covers most of the new album’s instruments himself, retaining his fresh Euro-pop vibe and Beatlesque ear for melody. Lyrically Patiently Waiting is very vertically directed, so there is less of a dance groove to these eleven tracks, but the pop vitality never lets up.

Strong guitars open “Be Exalted,” lushly arranged  both harmonically and instrumentally. Joined vocally by his sister Julie, the praises are strong, underscored creatively by the perfect hint of funk guitar. The whomping sound effects of “Living In Me” do more of the same, Blaze’s vocals showing no less power and versatility than pre-accident.  A few tracks feature mild bouncy pop (the gentle “Unsatisfied” and a simple but sincere “I Will Sing”), while others go a bit deeper in their explorations of life conditions (the warm, lovingly arranged title track cries out for God’s touch).

Blaze’s supple vocals have always been an expressive strength, but it’s his composer chops that shine on Patiently Waiting. His tight percussion and fresh rhythms kick up the energy level on this worship project, injecting a brightness long needed in the genre. I love the stirring keys and layered vocals of the worshipful “Beautiful Lamb,” brimming over with taut energy and straight up beauty. “Dear John,” another melodic pop groove, contains a hint of soul that adds to the fun. The bouncy pop rhythms and fresh vocals belie the track’s serious theme: tomorrow is not promised to any of us. A rich trumpet opens up the Beatlesque standout “One Desire,” and exuberance is the name of the game throughout. Fresh and fun, you’ll love its warm brass bridge.

The thickly heartfelt closer, “I Surrender,” is especially meaningful considering Blaze’s recent history, and a solid way to go out. Barry Blaze adds a significant voice to the worship scene, and I’m looking forward to more of his madly melodic creativity.


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