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The Beauty of Simplicity - Click to view!I heard your symphony of silence as your show began…I need you now like I needed you then. It's the story of Josh White's life. Once a member of secular band Man Ray, White's demeanor was so negative that their album had a parental advisory sticker on it. After being shuffled out of Mercury Records by three brothers who coined the term "MMMbop," his life began on a downward spiral until finally, convicted by the Lord, White picked up his Bible and started reading. Six years later finds him leading worship services full-time and heading a new band called Telecast.

Imagine what would happen if Ian Eskelin - from All Star United fame - became the lead vocalist for Coldplay, who then changed their name to Sixpence None the Richer and started leading worship. Not only would Sports Illustrated have new fodder for their "Signs of the Apocalypse" column, but you'd also have a relatively close notion of what Telecast sounds like. They draw their influences from British rock acts such as David Bowie and The Verve, and with Aaron Sprinkle at the production helm you would think Telecast would be anything but a worship band. Listen to The Beauty of Simplicity, however, and you'll find it's amazing how such an irregular combination of musical styles can create such a strikingly beautiful and elegant album. "Come to Me Quickly," the disc's second track, is a marvelous example. Zach Hodges's keys blend seamlessly with White's acoustic strumming, and White's own vocals are some of his best on the record: they have a rather light, silky flow to them. Combine this with superb percussion accompaniment and some of the most cultivated lyrics ever found in a worship tune, and you have a masterpiece. Likewise, "I Just Need You" is a harmonic paramount between Brynn Sanchez and White, most eminently during their apex in the chorus. Hodges's keyboard magic once again shines during this track, radiating a motif similar to that from Coldplay's "Clocks."

Another aspect that sets Telecast apart is how notably personal their lyrics are. Credit here can be given to White, as each song reflects his desire to glorify Christ's name. "I don't need signs... wonders... miracles... anything... only You," rings the chorus of "Define," a PFR-like request for God to shape us in His image. The title track stays true to its name by featuring beautiful yet simple verses: "It's the beauty of simplicity that brings me down to my knees. I'll praise you for eternity. And Lord I love you." White also pulls several choruses directly from the Bible, such as "Remember," taken from Revelation 2:6, or the self-titled "Psalm 27", a buoyant cut celebrating the Lord's strength and goodness. On a more personal level, "Come to Me Quickly" and "Covered" summarize most of White's feelings towards his prior career. The first of these two tracks serves as the realization that he was walking the wrong path ("And all I can say is I am a man of unclean lips"), while "Covered" details his gradual journey back to the arms of Jesus: "I have tried in great detail to earn your love but always failed…the love that I had tired to earn was a gift that I soon learned was yours to give." As a whole, the lyrics on The Beauty of Simplicity convey a genuine desire to worship rather than an empty, emotional high. In fact, if Telecast has a single flaw, it's that the songs on this album aren't nearly as accessible as other worship discs. These aren't songs that you can pick up after one or two listens and then immediately sing in church. Instead they grapple with your mind, sink into your soul, and etch themselves on your heart.

It surpasses the boundaries of traditional worship albums, and it's likely to be overlooked, but The Beauty of Simplicity is one of the most defining releases of 2003. It also marks a successful debut for Telecast, who will hopefully be leading worship in the future at a church near you. Simply put, The Beauty of Simplicity is for you if you have a strong desire to bring praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
- Rick Foux
November 2003
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