It was less than two months ago that The Wonderlands EP series from
Jon Foreman began with the first installment, Sunlight. And just like that, we're already back with EP number two in The Wonderlands series, this time titled, Shadows. With twelve more new tracks from Jon Foreman leaving their mark this summer, it can be easy to take these songs for granted, but EPs like Shadows aren't a dime a dozen.
Shadows lives up to its darker and brooding name, though not necessarily in the most obvious of ways. While yes, song titles like "The Ghost Machine," "My Coffin," and "Fake Your Own Death" don't exactly inspire much optimism at first, their messages reveal a sharper-edged reality that deserves some respect. While lines like "you can fake your own death and instead of dying, you might come alive" ("Fake Your Own Death") or "all hail the siren of our time/I'm possessed when she passes by/...I swear she's going to make a dead man out of me" ("The Ghost Machine") might come off as foreboding at first, it all goes together with the underlying theme of examining one's mortality to awaken the realities of the present's choices. It's a conscious attempt to use the darker side to produce a brighter picture. After all, as Foreman's fans already know, the shadow proves the sunshine.
Musically, Shadows is just like Sunlight in that every song feels like both its own event and as an integral part of the greater whole. This time, however, everything feels murkier, and unsurprisingly so. Even the upbeat "My Coffin" has a taste of caution. "Fake Your Own Death" includes some jazz instrumentation underneath its mysterious aura. What might be the most unusual track here, however, is the deeply self-reflective "Good For Me," which prominently features mariachi horns. The similarly-themed "Sirens Song" is backed by a lovely orchestral arrangement, produced by Future of Forestry's Eric Owyoung. What will likely end up being the most publically memorable track from Shadows is "Your Love Is Enough." Co-produced by Foreman and CCM extraordinaire Seth Mosley, it seems in the same vein as other worship favorites "Your Love is Strong" and "White As Snow," and though it's comparatively simple to the rest of the EP, it's not without full emotion that makes the entire track swell with power.
Shadows is an unavoidably drearier listen than some, but it never lacks the character that always comes with Foreman's songwriting. The intricate composition makes the most of the six tracks, too, and it's most assuredly an EP that merits many listens to unwrap each emotional layer. Hopeful, but never dishonest, Shadows is another solid entry from Foreman, and the first half of The Wonderlands is wonderful indeed.- Review date: 7/12/15, written by Roger Gelwicks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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