Artist:   Something Like Silas
Label:   Sparrow

Count me as one of those people who deeply appreciates almost anything produced and engineered by Steve Hindalong and Derri Daugherty, the musical brain trust behind alternative rock legends The Choir. From The Prayer Chain to Common Children and, more recently, GlassByrd and the “City on a Hill” series, one or the other (or both) have shepherded some hauntingly beautiful albums. And now, the major-label debut by Something Like Silas can be added to that list.

On the surface, "Divine Invitation" could be labeled a postmodern worship album, but that would sell it short. It’s more like a fine painting, reflecting the pleas of the psalmists using shades of light and dark.

This disc is the product of five San Diego musicians who are the resident artists at Flood, a church the group helped found. With four prior independent releases, the members arrive sounding mature and relaxed. It takes a confident band, for example, to segue from a pulsing, distorted-guitar opening cut  (“Creation’s Call”) into a mellow, meditative second track (“Words That You Say”). For a moment, the move catches you off guard — it’s so un-formulaic. Then it becomes apparent: This isn’t formula; it’s art.

Guitarist/singer Eric Owyoung has a strong, distinctive voice; and his wife, Malina, adds harmonies and keyboard textures from strings to electric piano. Drummer Lenny Beh and bassist John Luzzi creatively avoid clichés, especially on the driving “In the Burning.” Meanwhile, Hindalong and Daugherty layer the guitars of Eric Owyoung and Nick Maybury, floating sounds in and out of a mix that comes near perfection. Divine, indeed.


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