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Bellarive Takes Worship Outside the Box

  • Glenn McCarty Contributing Writer
  • 2012 21 Jun
Bellarive Takes Worship Outside the Box

Artist: Bellarive
Title: The Heartbeat
Label: Sparrow

Somewhere on the same family tree as Gungor and Leeland is Bellarive, another outside-the-box worship band hailing from Orlando, Florida. Its debut album, The Heartbeat serves up piano-fueled worship anthems that aim for more of a headphone-listening experience than the usual worship fare.

The lead single “Taste of Eternity” is a big-time track. Its gentle opening is the hook, but by the three-minute mark, the song has reached full-blown, go-for-broke proportions. This one should stay on the radio for some time. It has the kind of intimacy at its core, despite its hugeness, that bands like Delirious or David Crowder Band thrived on.  The fine work on this song is equaled on album opener “Heartbeat,” which contains a nifty secondary chorus that takes the song to a different level: “Stand tall/for we are daughters, we are sons/Step straight into this love/We bear the mark of our creator.”

“Hope is Calling” opens with a rhythmic piano riff that bursts into a celebratory chorus with plenty of meat on its bones, and “Shine On” revisits a familiar light/dark motif with flair, again weaving its way to a massive climax. Instrumental “Sing” is a nice interlude, leading into Switchfoot-style rocker “The Father’s Heart,” which is full of passion, but slightly more formulaic than the rest of the collection.

Bellarive seems to have a firm grasp of ebb and flow in its arrangements. These songs change gears impressively, allowing the band to evoke a variety of emotions throughout. Also, the mix is full of nifty sonic touches, little beeps and blurps, and keyboard and guitar riffs hiding under the main mix. Lead singer Sean Curren’s high tenor does remind of Leeland Moring, and adds a nice vulnerability to the band’s sound.

Among the album’s 12 tracks are a few songs which seem somehow unfinished, pieces of musical ideas strung together. In some way, however, they add, not subtract, from the album’s raw, spontaneous feel, and the production maintains a happy medium between capturing a band polished up in the studio and one straight off the stage. It’s easy to see why Bellarive caught the attention of label A&R reps. From this debut alone, the band has shown plenty of great signs.