Restoration is a brand new album written and recorded by Nathan Horst.
Restoration is personable and raw and spiritually accessible. In other words, I can push play and actually worship along with the artist because his musical craft is his own personal offering to God, first and foremost; he just happens to be benevolently sharing the experience with the rest of us. Incidentally, there is a huge difference between shared craft and musical formulas built upon premeditated aims at commercial success. The former is an experience; the later is predictable pop. Restoration is a soulful and artistic compilation of an obvious and shared musical craft born deep within the artist’s personal spiritual pilgrimage. It is musical expression that spans the gamut of all that is passionate, celebratory, praiseful, melodic, melancholic, moody, electronic and artful. Restoration is always artful. Nathan Horst is a quality song writer and musician.
I have heard very good things about Harrisburg native Nathan Horst and his music through Chris F., a great friend who not only appears and fills various musical roles on Nathan’s new album, but also leads worship in the city for our rag-tag bunch of ragamuffins on Sunday mornings. I have heard exuberant tales and legends concerning Nathan’s music, but I never actually heard his music, until now.
One Tuesday morning, over coffee, in a quaint little cafe in the city, Chris F. handed me a disk called Restoration.
I took it home, imported it into iTunes, and hit play; I honestly was not expecting much; it is Harrisburg, after all, right? Does anything musical come out of Harrisburg?
When I finished my initial listen I could not but help but think that this disk has the potential to take this guy well beyond his native home.
The opening track, a contemporary worship-laden psalm titled “Come to Us,” immediately smacks of a sanctified and organic fusion of U2, The Cure, and a smidgen of REM. Nathan prayerfully sings, “We are yours/We are yours/Sanctified and chosen/We are yours/We are yours/We are walking in your righteousness and truth/You come to us/Like a sweet sweet summer rain/Won’t you come to us with the force of a hurricane.” This track is an invitation to God. It’s a call for God to show up. It is not ironic that this track opens this album.
The electronic-sounding “Closer” follows the opening tune. Nathan passionately begins this track by singing, “Mysterious friend/You still my thoughts/Come and be closer than my selfish heart.” The chorus following is simple but spiritually poignant: “Don’t let my heart be satisfied.” Again, this song is a deeply passionate invitation to God. The desire is heart-change that brings the individual and God so much closer. Nathan uses phrases like “mysterious friend” and “dangerous friend” to describe God/relationship in this track. This track is not only artistic and artful, but also seriously theological. There is a very deep and very edifying theological lesson in those two characterizations of God/relationship. It’s rare to find music that strikes the balance between art and theology as well as this track - and album - does.
“Stay Here” is the third track on the album. It has a great bass line. It’s groovy, and absolutely necessary, but not obnoxiously so. The bass line compliments the song in the same way that the bass line in U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” compliments it. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” would not be the same song without its bass line, but it’s so complimentary you wouldn’t know it, unless it was actually missing! “Stay Here” has an incredible bass line that you would absolutely miss if it went suddenly missing. This track is radio ready too. It naturally invites listener interpretation. It is written in a way that invites listeners to superimpose their own meanings and/or narratives upon it. That’s a good thing! That’s great art! It’s a track that could mean a variety of things to a variety of listeners. “Stay Here” could be a song about God, or it could be a song celebrating someone special in life. Lyrics like this make this song memorable: “We’ll stick together/I’ll never leave your side/We’ve come this far/We’re moving forward/Take a deep breath/Inhale the winter air/Somehow this looks like heaven.” The picture of momentum moving us forward in relationship as heaven is memorable, indeed. This is a great track.
Previews of the album’s remaining tracks are available for your listening pleasure at iTunes. I highly recommend that you check this album out. It’s fantastic, praiseful, theological, and artful. It’s a rare and special find. Show some support to Nathan and Chris, check out Restoration!