Trial and Triumph is the long-awaited sophomore release from Carson City, Nevada based alternative/pop worship group, I Am They. The quintet of Jon McConnell, Abbie Parker, Matthew Hein, Justin Shinn, and Sara Palmer have done an incredible job of crafting an album full of worship that will reach people where they are while proclaiming the hope of redemption that Christ holds for all.
The main theme of the album mirrors its title, as the songs contained here explore the struggles of faith (fear, doubt, regret, sorrow, etc.) that we all face daily. Yet the delivery of this theme is done with authenticity and lyrical realism in a way rarely heard in the CCM worship world.
Musically, I Am They kind of sits between the deep writing and story telling of Casting Crowns and the energy and creativity of Rend Collective.
One of the things that makes I Am They stand out is the emotionally raw and real nature of their writing. These songs are expressions of hearts that have gone through fire. The best example of this is the simple yet profound, “Near to Me,” which is an incredibly vertical and intimate song of vulnerability that reveals the mercy of Christ when we are at our weakest.
“Scars”, continues in the same vein and is a gorgeously written, piano-led ballad about thanking God for the pain and trials in our lives so that we will remember to lean on Him in all things.
“To The One” is truly a song of hope that musically reminded me of “Hope to Carry On” by Caedmon’s Call, while “My Feet Are On the Rock” is a peppy worship opener about how Christ is the solid foundation that we stand on when life gets uncertain.
There is no sophomore slump here for I Am They. This is a really great album full of spiritually mature songs of heartfelt worship. These songs are well written models of how God allows the hard things in life, and how we find our salvation and hope at the cross. Some tracks may fall into the “performance” category, but most can be done in a congregational worship setting. Pick this one up.