“Shachah”: a Hebrew verb meaning to bow down, to prostrate oneself before God in worship. It is also the very fitting name of the newest Cross Movement Records group, a southern California band whose debut album On the Move showcases both their God-centered focus and their mesmerizing mix of funk-rock and hip-hop.
The four Shachah members (lead singer Brenden “Proclaim” McPeek, guitarist Josh Wagner, bassist Earl Mergelsberg, and drummer Stephen Anderson) came out of the same Costa Mesa Calvary Chapel ministry as occasional tour-mate Phil Wickham, and display similar worshipper’s hearts. They’ve released 4 indie projects prior to On the Move, including a straightforward worship album that sold over 4,000 copies, and according to bassist Earl Mergelsberg, it’s still all about the adoration. “It really is worship to us, all of it. Whether it has a hip-hop groove or some rock distortion, at the end of the day we want most for our music to be pleasing to the Lord.” As much as a soulful joy radiates through the Shachah sound, it’s also immediately clear that it’s a lifestyle issue to the band as much as a musical one.
Shachah’s unique sound meshes several different genres while coming across as completely organic, a process which Earl describes as straight-up natural. “All four of us in the band come from different musical backgrounds and love very different styles of music. Between us all we love reggae, rock, R&B, funk, and rap. We don’t really try to sound like anybody else, but once we start writing together it just processes into something very fresh.”
Maybe it flows from their five years of playing and worshipping together, or maybe it’s their global experiences as “musicianaries” promoting the cause of the gospel in places as far-flung and disparate as Miami and Russia. But Shachah’s innovative style serves as a bridge builder in a number of capacities: between generations and cultures, and between believers and seekers. Appearing with bands like Superchic[k] and Seventh Day Slumber, they encourage the Body while still engagingly pointing others to Christ. The band’s energetic live shows are rich with interaction, often flowing over into Sunday morning worship leading the next day.
Still, it is their percolating sonic stew that sets them apart. The fifteen tracks of On the Move, releasing this September, showcase their brawny diversity and rousing three-part harmonies. Powering through the churning, edgy energy of “Won’t Stop” and the rapid flow of “Hero,” Shachah is equally prepared for the slow burn of the melodic “Go Forth” or the funk/reggae groove of “Arise.” The guitar-driven title track is laced with techno nuances while edgy riffs pump relentlessly through the aptly-titled “Won’t Stop.” The message is paramount as Brenden McPeek holds our feet to the fire on “You Said,” reminding us that we’ve been called for a purpose. Every way you turn Shachah’s soulful energy is there to stir your soul heavenward.
While their California sound may not fit your expectation of the well-regarded Cross Movement label, Earl views the match as inspired. “We are thrilled first and foremost,” he shares, “because of their reputation for integrity. And Cross Movement Records is known for holding it down for the gospel always. Besides,” he adds, “their vision runs parallel with ours: it’s the gospel first, and then the music.”
The feeling is seconded heartily by label president John Wells. “Diversity is what is happening in the culture right now, and a Christian label committed to reaching the world for Christ will offer the best music representative of that culture.”
Definitely a characterization that fits well for the fresh sound of Shachah’s On the Move.
For further information, visit www.shachah.com or www.crossmovementrecords.com.