Joy Ike: Bigger Than Your Box

Fresh from her participation in the worship collective The Porter’s Gate last year, this multi-hyphenated songwriter-pianist-singer offers a fourth solo album with the warm pop-soul tones (one gets used to the hyphens in genre-bending artists) of “Stay,” a meditation on Psalm 139. “No place I hide that You cannot go, no place, no shadow that isn’t Your home.” The second track “By the Fire” starts with deceptively mellow solo piano before kicking into a driving samba for the second half. Other songs tackle themes of encouragement and romantic devotion. “Walk” expounds on Micah 6:8’s instruction that we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. “Give a Little” breezes by with accordion and castanets. The stop-start acoustic guitar and string bass of “Full” back a cautionary tale about know-it-alls. “You’re so full, you eat yourself.” In these days when so many songs loop the same four bars over and over, it’s a sheer delight to listen to music crafted to start in one place and then go somewhere else. The Philadelphian’s robust alto drifts between bright Sara Bareilles-style pop, Alicia Keys’ tuneful R&B, and moments of modern gospel. Strings and brushed toms augment the piano base, hooky as anything you’d hope to hear.

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