The Gray Havens’ newest studio album, She Waits, is yet another reminder that the best, most innovative Christian music being produced today is often flying just under the mainstream radar. The Gray Havens are a husband and wife duo made up of Dave and Licia Radford. Their latest release is filled with rich symphonic textures, indie pop piano hooks, and fascinating lyrics filled with allegory and theology.
The album begins almost fragilely with the title track, "She Waits". The sustained organ sets the thematic tone for the album: anticipation. Things pick up right away with a toe-tapping pseudo love song, "See You Again". It’s the kind of song that Ben Rector and Coldplay have made a career of.
The sustained organ sets the thematic tone for the album: anticipation.
Rapper and spoken word artist, Propaganda, is featured on the title track, "High Enough", which is one of the most memorable songs on the album. With hints of OneRepublic, Imagine Dragons, and even Twenty One Pilots, this track is The Gray Havens at their very best. Great harmonies, imaginative use of traditionally orchestral instruments, a memorable melody, and intriguing lyrics.
They jump back to this same minor-key medium hip-hop feel again on "Three Birds in Babylon". Their use of unexpected vocal rhythms is one of their signatures, and it’s used masterfully on this song. While not quite as catchy as "High Enough", lyrically this song is definitely worth closer examination. In an interview with Jesusfreakhideout, Dave Radford stated that "Three Birds in Babylon" was, “partially inspired by The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, and also borrows from his famous liar, lunatic, or Lord argument.”
"Storehouse" has quickly become a personal favorite. Stylistically somewhere between Leon Bridges and John Mayer, this 6/8 meter ballad will leave you singing along to a wonderfully simple, gospel-soaked treasure.
The last full song on the album is the most anthemic and inspiring. "Forever" is a catchy and well written song that starts with a fast-yet-understated piano riff and a soft reed organ. This track again leans on Dave Radford’s ability to spit lyrics with an almost spoken word quality. Like something from Bruce Hornsby’s classic The Way It Is album, don’t miss the surprising-but-perfect electric guitar outro solo on "Forever".
She Waits will undoubtedly increase the The Gray Havens' profile in the Christian music world. Add this album to a playlist and don’t be surprised if you begin hearing about this band a lot more often.