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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

On the Blue

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 1 Jul
  • COMMENTS
On the Blue
Sounds like … a combination of Brit-pop and worshipful singer/songwriter material, reminiscent of Jason Morant, Keane, Phil Wickham, Snow Patrol, and Shawn McDonaldAt a glance … an enjoyable alt-pop/rock sound and personal, worshipful reflections characterize this initial offering from Canadian newcomer Joel AugéTrack Listing So Deep in Love Where You Go I Go Every Heart Even the Rocks Miracle Love Glory Glory Stolen It Away Singing Hallelujah On the Blue I Am Here to Praise You Call on Me I Know My Place

Integrity Music has come a long way. More artist-driven than ever, this veteran of worship music is trying more and more to diversify its label roster and appeal to a wider cross-section of listeners, including those in the youth market and the coffeehouse types who wouldn't be caught dead picking up a Paul Baloche album. (We love you, Paul!)

Canadian newcomer Joel Augé is perhaps the label's earthiest singer/songwriter yet. Though On the Blue represents Augé's debut to the U.S., he's actually been around his homeland's indie circuit since the late '90s, playing in a number of bands for mostly unchurched audiences. This solo excursion is his most worshipful material thus far.

The song making waves at the moment is first single "So Deep in Love," which recently occupied a spot in iTunes' coveted Discovery Download program. The barrage of attention and listener opinion that the song generated serves as an apt primer of sorts for On the Blue. It's an extremely pleasant disc as far as singer/songwriter efforts go, but it's not overly artsy or introspective either.

Instead, Augé sticks to a mostly uncomplicated, guitar-driven sound, with certain nods to sensitive-guy Brit-pop bands like Keane and Snow Patrol, both of which come to mind when listening to Augé's falsetto-rich tenor. The songs are certainly worshipful but not all that corporate, vertical but deeply personal, folk-inspired but with enough of an alt-pop edge to give it rapport with the college crowd. No new ground is broken here, but at least Augé treads the existing terrain with self-assurance.

Those expecting another congregational friendly offering from Integrity may want to look elsewhere, as very little from On the Blue fits that category. A couple of songs could lean that way, like the congregational "Every Heart" or the driving "Glory Glory," but those are exceptions to the norm. Instead, much like Phil Wickham or Shawn McDonald, Augé is better at expressing his heart for God in prayerful, devotional ways, like the ominous "I Know My Place," perhaps the most personal song on the album. It's a promising start for Augé overall, and hopefully the beginning of a long, auspicious career.

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