Josiah James is an up-and-coming worship leader who has been leading worship and doing other concerts across mainly the west coast for a couple of years. Oceans is the second EP” in a series of three based on three different elements: wind water and fire. Josiah’s music fits into the newly created indie worship genre which is basically anything other than normal “CCM.”
Josiah’s voice reminds me of Phil Danyew (Danyew) and Jessy Ribordy (Falling U,p The River Empires, and The Gloomcatcher) mixed together. The only minuscule problem with the vocals is at times they can get a little too whiny but not enough to make it a big deal. The music on this album is mainly acoustic-driven worship with at times some synths mixed in making it sound like a Phil Wickham album. The only major exceptions that I found were “After You” and “Far Away”; they have a more folk music focus. At times different songs sound too much like a Phil Wickham song so much that for a second it made me think that my iPod might have switched to a Phil Wickham album. The standout track musically is “A Crook and a Steal ” which finds the perfect boundary between acoustic pop and folksy worship music.
Each song is somewhat about water or rain but they are mostly metaphorical. “Rain” makes good use of the metaphor of water being God’s love for us. “A Crook and a Steal” is about asking God for help and guidance in hard times. These are only a couple of the different beautiful and heartfelt meanings on this album. The main song I found I liked all around on Oceans is “After You.” It has peaceful vibes flowing throughout the whole song and has wonderful lyrics. The lyrics are about searching for God then realizing that God is searching for you instead.
The biggest issue that I had trouble getting over on this album was that at times it sounds too much like other artists of the same genre (Phil Wickham, Lovelite, Danyew, and Evan Wickham). That’s the only big downside to this album. The really good things on this album are that the vocals are original in their range and that the instrumentation on this album is perfect. Even if it sounds like other artists it is one of the most original releases from this genre this past year. In the end I found that this album is a nice little treat that will definitely not let anybody down who is a fan of this genre.
4/5 Stars: The songs on this album are passionate worshipful tunes that at times can sound like too many other worship artists. If you can get past that this is a great and solid album.