Written by: Laura Chambers (September 6, 2017)
It can become pretty scary when the sun suddenly disappears from your sky. As I write this review, we’re a couple of weeks removed from the solar eclipse that just plunged portions of America into total darkness. While that event was highly publicized and therefore probably didn’t come as a surprise to anyone who witnessed it, in the past, that was not the case. Aside from a few learned individuals, eclipses were sudden and unnerving. Even now, people still pointed to the event as being a potential prophetic sign of things to come. And maybe it was; I really don’t know. But what I can tell you is that those who have observed an eclipse, then and now, aren’t likely to take the daylight for granted for a while.
Similarly, when we face spiritual darkness – crises of faith, moments of suffering – our deliverance only shines that much more glorious in comparison. Cody Carnes releases his debut album The Darker The Night/The Brighter The Morning as an assurance to us that the glory of our ultimate victory in Christ far outshines the agony of temporary defeat.
“Resurrection Blood” gives you a real sense of transition from death to life through the difference between the warped sound of the verse and the clarity of the chorus. When we become redeemed, Jesus’ life goes deep down into our innermost being. His blood drives out fear and releases us from bondage to sin. His name has the authority to exorcise darkness and revive us. “What Freedom Feels Like” paints a picture of liberty in Christ. Evoking simple images of dawn, waves, and shifting ground, it captures a moment in time without going overboard with imagery. “’Til The End Of Time” brings a haunting quality to the watery imagery it uses to describe God’s mysterious nature and the irresistibility of an offer of presence that is right at our fingertips. Cody‘s wife Kari Jobe is featured on this song, and their voices mesh in a shared commitment to God. We are safe when He is with us. “The Cross Has The Final Word” reminds us that no matter what happens to us, ultimately only Christ’s sacrifice on the cross has any bearing on our destinies. I’m undecided whether this is a string of choruses in search of verses (must be the writer in me), or the repeated driving home of a crucial point like the hammering of a nail that will fall out if not struck over and over. Either way, it’s effective, and really, what more needs to be said with a refrain like that?
“Full Of Faith” declares some of the promises we can count on if we speak the words of God and believe in His word. How can we not believe in a God who always comes through? Every uncertainty falls to the ground, surrendering to the One we trust in. “Hold It All” declares God to be the only chance left when everything else has been exhausted. We must remember that, as the lines which inspired the album’s title say, deeper darkness now multiplies the joy of the light to come. The arrangement chosen for this song seems more like a remix than what’s typical of main tracks, at least in my experience. It’s lacking that strength of conviction sound (understand I’m not doubting the singer’s faith here) and feels more like a wisp of breeze teasing its way through one‘s window on a humid summer night. Yet there’s a rightness to it, the way truth often underlies the oppressive atmosphere around us, understated but potent. “Rooms” seeks to delve beneath the surface of who God is to discover hidden caverns of mystery. There is so much more to Him than can be known by simply seeking Him in the shallow end. Kari joins him on this track, too, which she co-wrote with him. “Through And Through” surrenders access to the Holy Spirit in a vulnerable moment. Surrounded by the love of God, there is nothing of more value than time in His presence. Nothing is capable of separating us from Him.
“Wait Here” retreats to the protection of God, seeking peace and safety. We can remain as long as we need to because all of our needs flow from Him. There’s a lullaby-like quality to much of this song, perhaps because that’s the level of security we can experience when we trust in Him. As if waking up from a daze for a moment, the bridge powerfully proclaims confidence and anticipation, before dropping off back to sweet sleep again. “Banner” expresses Carnes’ certainty that anything which will bring glory to God cannot mean lasting harm to us. He will go with us into the darkness and prepare something good for us. Like a flag of declaration, His love flies over our path wherever life takes us. “Bread And Wine” recalls Jesus’ use of material sustenance as a metaphor for His ability to uphold us. We are welcome in His presence and share in His victory. The song seems to veer off track of its original imagery a bit, but other than that, Carnes still points to a hunger that can only be satisfied through Jesus. “Nothing More To Say” defines what Jesus offers us; eternal life, mercy, redemption and freedom, to name a few. He is the essence of all of these; when we speak His name, we couldn’t describe our hope with any better words. A live version of “The Cross Has The Final Word” caps off this release, elevating the song’s impact through its joyous live atmosphere.
If it’s true that tragedy brings truth into sharper focus, then let trouble come, because the glory which is still to come far exceeds our momentary trials. Cody Carnes’s debut is an encouraging glimpse of that future splendor, with moments of introspection mingling with shouts of declaration and prayers for a deeper fellowship with God. The Darker The Night/The Brighter The Morning reminds us all of the flip side of adversity, promising a greater awareness of God and a new perspective on life if we cling to His word.
Released: September 15, 2017
Label: Carnes Music Group LLC under exclusive license to Sparrow Records
- Resurrection Blood (4:04)
- What Freedom Feels Like (3:07)
- Til The End Of Time (feat. Kari Jobe) (3:27 )
- The Cross Has The Final Word (4:15)
- Full Of Faith (3:40)
- Hold It All (4:10)
- Rooms (feat. Kari Jobe) (3:15)
- Through & Through (3:34)
- Wait Here (4:46)
- Banner (5:16)
- Bread & Wine (3:39)
- Nothing More To Say (5:04)
- The Cross Has The Final Word (Live) (4:54)
13 Tracks, 54:00
Buy on iTunes
More from Cody Carnes:
- The Lighter Side EP (2009)
- All He Says I Am (2014)