Out of the Dust
Now More than Ever
Independent (release date: September 13, 2019)
By Bob Marovich
If the Swell Season’s Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova made a Christian album, it would sound like Out of the Dust’s Now More than Ever.
The sophomore release for the husband-and-wife duo Chris and Stephanie Teague offers eleven songs with their trademark bracing rhythms, shimmering music, candy-coated melodies, and pop-oriented harmonies.
Their relationship transitioned from marriage to separation, divorce, and remarriage. The journey from devastation to deliverance was the underlying element of their self-titled 2017 debut album.
But on Now More Than Ever’s “So Amazing,” a song with crossover potential, they recommit to one another, standing up against the roller coaster of daily life. On the prayerful “Take This,” featuring Plumb, Stephanie sings that when things aren’t going well, it’s time to give the problem to Jesus. After an atmospheric interlude, an anguished Chris responds with the equally earnest “I Still Believe in You.” The end result is found in the lullaby-like “Redemption Skies.”
On “Come Alive,” the duo uses the metaphor of Jesus dying on the cross to articulate how we embrace life only when we let go, when we lose ourselves. Similarly, “I Will Go” suggests that even accepting discipleship means “I can’t be resurrected until I’ve been crucified / I’m terrified but still I give my life.”
Rapper Tony Tillman joins the Teagues on “Truth,” an indictment of today’s assault on facts. “You can have your own opinion,” Stephanie sings, “but you cannot have your own truth.” “Love Your Enemies” extends this argument to relationships: we hide in our own comfort zones “when you only love the ones who love you.”
The Teagues hit their apex on the delicious title track, one of the loveliest Christian songs of the year. The song celebrates the love between two people and the love of God that embraces it with grace. This duo definitely deserves more attention.
Five of Five Stars
Picks: “Now More than Ever,” “So Amazing”