In his new EP Shells, Atlanta-based pop musician WILKES creates a welcoming and coherent experience that delights listeners with polished and heartfelt writing while eluding the pitfalls of Contemporary Christian Music. The EP is set to release this Friday the 27th.
WILKES avoids the slippery slope of CCM trends while still delivering earnest and faith-driven lyrics to sleek and accessible pop progressions. Arrangements range from bubbly to brooding to triumphant, as singer-songwriter Jason Wilkes explores the sovereignty and majesty of God. Highlights include the acoustic “Pursuit,” which showcases Wilkes’ poignant vocals and melodies. This track leads into “Come Now Rain Down,” which explodes into rock stylings and underscores the most urgent lyrics of the release.
However, the EP only barely dodges the CCM bullet, and it doesn’t always deliver emotionally. The lyrics aren’t too far out of the range of popular “Christian” music, and neither is the instrumentation. Also, the mix in the opening track doesn’t sound as clean as the following tracks. It doesn’t seem to blend as well as the other songs, which gives the EP a rough start.
Nevertheless, the EP does achieve coherence alongside pleasant musicality. The songs here all build off each other, which is refreshing in a pop market dominated by “the single.” For example, the interlude “The Reckoning Prologue” builds the EP up towards its climax without wasting space, and the closer “What Are We To Do” feels a natural way to end the EP. In closing, Shells is an enjoyable and thoughtfully constructed release, and WILKES is certainly a band worthy of your attention.
WILKES can be found at the following links.