Okay, I’ll admit that I’m procrastinating… but this band is worth the time to stop and listen!
Mosaic became a full-fledged band in 2009. Prior to that it was simply a Christian worship group of five friends who had begun as a jam session over Christmas carols. Currently, I’m only going to talk about their latest album, Teach Us, released in summer of 2011, because it has so much good about it that I still can’t stop listening to it.
What does Mosaic sound like? If you wanted a short-hand description, I’d say a cross between the glowing melodies of Sixpence None the Richer and the flexible creativity of Switchfoot. But that shorthand is likely to mislead, because it can’t account for the lovely and unique quintet vocal and instrumental mixture of Mosaic’s musical formulations of Biblical passages.
Most of the lyrics conform closely to scriptural passages and adequately communicate wide verse ranges better than I’ve heard before. Unlike some worship music, which can tend to focus on single sentences or phrases alone, Mosaic boldly follows entire portions of whole chapters in the Bible. For example, the song “Return to Me” follows the words of Jeremiah chapters 2-4 and also Hoseah 11:7-8 with the agonizing orchestral strain providing a background for the love expressed by God the Father for wandering Israel.
In Teach Us, a fair number of Old Testament passages and others from the New Testament are given aural shape in a way that emphasizes the tone and attitude of the writers and speakers. In a very real way, Mosaic manages to provide an animating and moving rendition of the scriptures, obeying in spirit the Biblical mandate to write the law upon the door frames of our houses, upon our gates, and upon our hearts. The only track that is not an original composition is track twelve, a combination of Nothing But the Blood and Jesus Paid it All.
The whole album expertly demonstrates the ample musical talent and artistry that is bound up in this quintet. The musical styles of each vocalist is expressed in a dreamy way that does not detract from the prevailing melody lines. Mosaic proves adept at being a chameleon of genres as well, with “Fear the Lord” exhibiting a versatile piano with smooth transitions between a light jazz combo style and a strong refrain reminiscent of modern alternative pop. Other songs manage to generate an entirely new sound, so that one might question whether he or she is actually listening to the same group. Each of these songs has a story behind it, related on Mosaic’s website, strongly influenced by the group members’ religious faith.
The vocal harmonies blend and counterbalance quite well in pieces such as “Out of Eden,” and creative, almost unorthodox, rhythmic expressions intrigue in “Seek the Lord.” Put another way, if there were a musical equivalent for a sweet tooth, Mosaic would be the chocolate-covered strawberry to satisfy the craving. The sound is simply astounding, and I highly recommend these gifted individuals who glorify God with their talent to anyone who even pretends to listen to any kind of music.