“God of This City” put Bluetree on the map; I still like their version of their song about the red light district better than anyone else’s, regardless of how big the other performer’s name is. But after touring with their new-found success, the band went back to the basics in their home church, Exchange Church Belfast, and Kingdom is the result.
I was initially pretty nonplussed by the album. It all seemed pretty much the same, playing along in my car. The tone is set at “Glorious Victorious” with a worshipful sound, but the rise and fall from the mean is pretty small. In other words, there was nothing that jumped out at me like the first time I heard “God of This City.” But on further review, there are a couple of songs that definitely deserve mention, as I listened with lyrics in hand.
Aaron Boyd says that the lyrics are driven by the church-wide Bible study he participated in, and the Christological nature of the songs becomes clearer. “It Is Finished” and “Exalt Him” turned me around as I examined the lyrics, and one thing became clear.
Bluetree’s radio single might’ve grabbed everyone’s attention, but while Third Day, Casting Crowns, and Mercy Me started out as worship and ended as pop/rock icons, Bluetree is still the group version of Matt Redman or Chris Tomlin. It’s not the sound you might have expected after “City,” but the delivery here is really music that you could use in your church to lead worship. And most songs included here actually transmit their own sermonette, beating out the 1980s and 1990s vibe that conveyed that Jesus was your girlfriend.
Bluetree is back, and they’re the same but different. More focused. And that thing they’re focused on? The power of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the transformation of the world.