Meet The Way West: a worship band out of Sacramento, California, made up of musicians Mark Monroe (vocals/rhythm guitar), Wesley Binford (lead guitar), and Andrew Miles (drums). The Way West’s debut recording “Kingdom” kicks off with the title track by the same name. While I enjoyed the lyrical work, Monroe seemed to be lacking just a bit in vocal enthusiasm, which would have improved the track tremendously. This is not to say that he does not have a beautiful voice, however, as he repeatedly hit falsetto notes and they sounded effortless and flowing. As the title track, it was not as impressive as I would have expected as a kickoff on the EP, but it remains a solid track nonetheless.
Next up on the EP is a cover of Hillsong United’s Christ is Enough. Again, I must say that Monroe sounds as if he is a tad bit bored through the beginning portion of this song, but upon reaching the second verse, along with the introduction of harmonies, this song really picked up a lot. I really noticed the impressive drum work put in by Miles a lot on this song. By the end of this song, I was enjoying it much more, as it sounded more put together and much more enthusiastic.
All I Am was most definitely my favorite track on the album. This track includes some beautiful piano parts and great instrumentation, as well as shining a light on Monroe’s vocal capabilities. The Way West makes extremely excellent use of sound in this track, with musical breaks and acoustic sections as well as contagious, upbeat parts. The bridge boldly declares that “He will never fall and He will never fail / Jesus is alive and He has prevailed.” This is a solidly spiritual-grounded song that could easily be sung as an anthem in churches everywhere.
Fourth up on the record is a remake of the traditional hymn How Deep the Father’s Love for Us. Personally, I loved the way the band mixed it up and modernized a hymn so full of Biblical doctrine. It was beautiful, yet haunting at the same time.
Freedom wraps up with the song “Broken,” which speaks about being a broken man yet receiving freedom from Christ. “I know that You have set me free / At the valleys, peaks, and in between.” This song seemed to be the most upbeat track on the EP. The instrumentation kept the listener intrigued, as the use of background notes creatively mixed things up a little bit.
Overall, I enjoyed this release. I am definitely looking forward to watching The Way West progress as a band and continue to release music. As a worship leader, I liked All I Am so much that I might use it in a set at my own church! If you’re a fan of worship music, definitely check this release out!