Sounds Of Salvation – SoS IV: Rise Of The Ska Machine


SoS-IV-Rise-of-jpegWhen you think about Christian ska, there are several bands that spring to mind such as Five Iron Frenzy, Insyderz and The O.C. Supertones. These are all American, but now there is an upcoming British band that has gained recognition for their dynamic festival performances. Sounds Of Salvation (SoS) originally formed in 2004 and are led by Michael Whiteman. Like their contemporaries, their main aim is to worship God and have as much good, clean fun as they possibly can. This also involves ska dancing (or skanking).

Previous releases were the raw ‘Like It Is’ (2006), then ‘S’ka Gje’ (2008) and the more mature ‘Nuking The Fridge’. But fret not as they serve up high-octane ska with equal doses of warmth and tongue-in-cheek humour in ‘IV: Rise Of The Ska Machine’ (2013). Their current lineup is Michael Whiteman (guitar/vocals), Hannah Kernthaler (saxohpone/vocals), Andy Edwards (trumpet/vocals), Peter Kernthaler (trumpet/trombone/vocals), Thomas “Thos” Clague (bass/vocals) and Lekai Lee (drums). They have likened their sound to setting an elephant loose on a marching band.

After a quirky intro, it launches into the ska-infused story of creation in ‘The Garden’. Then ‘Promise’ is a retelling of Jacob’s dream of a ladder reaching from the earth to heaven. But its not all biblical stories as ‘Shout’ is a raucous worship declaration “Shout (oi) for joy to the Lord all the earth / We’ll worship you with gladness, we’ll sing you joyful songs / Shout (oi) for joy to the Lord all the earth / ‘cause he’s blessed me so richly, I’ll give thanks and praise his name”.

Without warning they switch into the cheeky humour of ‘Spatial Awareness Man’ with “He is spatial awareness guy / Got no super strength and he can’t fly / He is spatial awareness dude / He’s got a pearly white smile and he’s never rude / You know he is the bestsest ‘cause he’s really good at tetris”. There is the horn-enhanced rock in ‘Anthem For A Broken World’. After that is ‘Son’ which lists the different Biblical names of Jesus, and sets off a section of worship songs. That includes their mixture of ska and metal with rap, which they have christened “skrap metal” on the gloriously stomp ‘He Died For You’ with its shouty chorus.

There have been many versions of ‘How Great Thou Art’ and here they speed it up slightly for a rock rendition with horns in the chorus. Its remarkable effective. They finish off with a flourish with ‘New’, a ska anthem “A new heaven and a new Earth / An angel in the Sun / Is calling us to join the master’s feast / King of Kings and Lord of Lords is coming back again / To build with us the New Jerusalem”.

Michael stated “The whole album is a kind of overview of some of the big stories in the bible, starting with Genesis and the creation story and ending with this passage from Revelation 19 & 21:1-8. One of the things that I really thought about when writing ‘New’ was how the bible passage is about Jesus coming back to build the New Jerusalem with us, rather than to whisk us away somewhere else. I was really inspired by the thought of Jesus working with us to build the New Jerusalem and that the work we are doing now on Earth is going to count towards that.”

Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby

Track list:
1. In The Beginning
2. The Garden
3. Promise
4. Shout
5. Spatial Awareness Man
6. Anthem For A Broken World
7. Son
8. Your Will Be Done
9. He Died For You
10. Right To The End
11. Worship You
12. How Great Thou Art
13. New

Band members:
Pete – ‘bone and trumpet
Andy – trumpet
Hannah – alto sax
Mike – singing and guitar
Thos -super electric five-string bass guitar
Lekai Lee – the drum-set-de-jour™

Record Label: Independent, April 2013

Weblinks: Facebook / Bandcamp / Twitter


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