It’s a rare feat indeed for an artist of any association to seamlessly combine innovative expressions with a message that permeates the very core of someone’s soul. Not only does Telecast conquer both categories on its deftly executed new album Eternity Is Now, but its underlying sense of hopefulness translates well beyond the trenches of this earth and into the supernatural spectrum. With an expansive creative palette, firm faith footing and no holds barred exposure of the issues plaguing members’ psyche, Telecast’s sophomore outing raises the bar of its already established effectiveness and propels the band into the future with piercing power.
“I would say there’s been major growth, first of all from the fact that Telecast’s been on the road for the last year straight,” notes founding figurehead and front man Josh White. “After playing over 200 shows during the last year, your eyes get opened up pretty wide and you interact with all sorts of people. It’s allowed me to see the health of the church as a whole, especially coming from the world of secular music into Christian music.”
Indeed the transition between the two was quite a leap, starting with White’s time in secular sensations Man Ray throughout the latter half of the 1990s. The group was signed to Mercury Records and opened for the acclaimed likes of Third Eye Blind and Social Distortion. Out of the ashes from that act, White took a tighter grip on his Christian beliefs and temporarily resigned from the industry, spending four years painting before the door was opened for ministry in Spokane, Washington. After settling into a service position as worship pastor for Calvary Chapel, he eventually forged a friendship with BEC Recordings’ Brandon Ebel, who courted the singer/songwriter with a solo deal.
“I had given music back to the Lord at that point, so when I signed with Brandon, it was to write songs to bless the church,” he relates. “I had no intention of touring, but basically met a group of guys, formed Telecast and began making worship music along the lines of what I loved- Coldplay, the Doves, Travis and that realm of music. The major thing for us, because there was no Christian music background and I had come out of a hard, pagan lifestyle, was to avoid the over vagueness happening within Christianity today. It’s all sort of relating to God, but the main thing in Telecast was to put Jesus in the centrality of the lyrics.”
And that’s exactly where the eleven stirring selections lie throughout the duration of Eternity Is Now. With ethereal undertones, Brit-pop leanings and engaging originality, the guys are able to reach beyond the church’s walls with their resourceful displays, while also reaching believers with an unconventional palette.
“The title is based all around Scripture and the fact that from the second we put our faith in Christ, we should be practicing a moment by moment reality of living in His presence,” White contends. “It’s a heavy concept but it’s really practical. To put it very simply, life is about knowing God, loving who He is and doing what He says.”
It all kicks off with the guitar driven crunch of “Saturate,” a song set in straightforward Brit-pop influence that encourages all to break the chains of apathy within their Christian relationships. “Face To Face” follows suit, adapting a sparser and rootsy rock pattern akin to the likes of Damien Rice, Wilco or Ryan Adams. The latter speaks of a conversion period and the strength that comes from having the veil removed from one’s eyes after encountering Christ on a personal level. Additional variety and assertive attitude are strewn throughout the dreamy “Release the Deep,” the electrically assaulting “Absolution” and the Smiths styled “Fade Into You” (complete with joyous lyrics of salvation a la Bob Dylan).
“So much of the CCM industry is based in replacement entertainment rather than the desire to minister the gospel, of Jesus Christ” White notices, referring to the antithesis of his songwriting intentions. “If you are passionate about something it will be expressed in what you do and we are consistent in expressing our passion in our music. It should never be forced, but a natural outpouring of the heart and mind. There are times when the message can be painfully uncomfortable for a non-believer and really jarring for someone who already is, but hopefully it will make both groups think really hard about where they’re at in life.”
The Beatles-esque “Up Toward the Center” is a perfect example of those intentions, catching all with its infectious chorus, but clearly conveying the need to fully submerse oneself in faith over fear. Even more contagious is the 60s psychedelic swing of the lead single “Everything,” an analysis of someone suffering that dives beyond one dimensional, simplistic solutions and turns to true confidence found only in all out surrender. Then there’s the simple and direct jangle of “Today,” a cry of thankfulness to the Lord for His blessings, while the piano based “Wounded Feet” uses the illustration of Christ walking on water to bring assuagement in times of trouble. Also along for the ride are the Van Morrison tipped “Close To You” and the poetic finale “Building a Sorrowful Loveliness.”
In correlation with these heartfelt expositions and members all encompassed rejuvenation, Telecast is not only taking its show on the road throughout America, but around the entire world. The decision to go global began last year, manifesting itself in a series of overseas outreach trips. From Iceland to Russia to Germany to other areas of Europe, the guys have made an unflinching commitment to ministry and are never ashamed to stand up for their beliefs.
“Working in places like Russia are amazing because you get to see an awakening amongst the youth,” White observes. “For a country with no religion for 75 years, that really blew me away! For a while when I was a secular artist, my faith was just a set Sunday thing. But to them and areas that are less fortunate, God is bigger and much more a part of their daily lives. Telecast has never been interested in simply existing to make great music. The main point is to tell the church to stop loosing its voice and ability to change lives in attempts for relevance and making people feel good. It’s time for them to wake up and embrace Jesus in a way that’s alive and reaching out to others in the here and now. Long story short, Eternity Is Now.”