Thieves & Kings is an indie/alternative worship project from The Metro Church in Bentonville, Arkansas. The band consists of guitarist/vocalist Darren King and drummer Abishai Collingsworth of The Overseer, bassist Justin Froning of Deas Vail, and The Metro worship pastor John Roller also on vocals, with female vocals provided by Froning’s (soon-to-be) wife, Ciara.
This album is a product of Metro Church, where gifted volunteer worship teams lead music for Sunday services and Thieves & Kings was born out of one of those combinations of musicians. The band began writing music in late summer/ early fall of last year and the writing and recording continued on into the new year.
Froning says, “I personally hope there will be more releases from T&K, because it’s the sound I naturally lean towards when writing and playing, but I know that we’ll have more great music coming out of the church either way. I’m really proud of our musicians.” The project arose out of a desire to create brand new songs that might inspire believers and provide music for other churches to sing. The result is worship music for people who might not necessarily like contemporary Christian worship music. Of the Thieves & Kings album, Justin says he is “just as excited about this as any Deas Vail release.”
This album reaches far beyond your typical Christian radio fare. With vocals that are passionate, powerful, but at the same time almost soothing; some songs leaning more on piano, or guitar, and subtle synth woven in, the music is always captivating.
The magnetic opening track “Free” is instantly catchy. I don’t usually like to make comparisons but this song brought to mind Citizens & Saints with it’s upbeat chorus that will have you singing along immediately.
“Redemption’s Way” is a dynamic song with some grooving bass. I love the drumming, which gives a modern edge and drive throughout even the quieter parts of the song. The anthemic chorus breaks in and I can definitely imagine a congregation’s hands and voices being raised. If I was a worship pastor, I’d be all over this one.
A standout track for me is “Cursing Tongue,” which is a calm, stripped down piano and voice. This is a powerful song with some of my favourite lines of the album:
“take this cursing tongue and make it sing/ take these blinded eyes and make them see/ You are more than enough/ You’re more deserving of my love/ take this cursing tongue and make it sing/ to you my King”
“Love That Abounds” opens quietly and allows instruments to join in as the music builds before dropping out into amazing layering and back and forth on vocals. This song is perfectly balanced between the softer moments, and the larger sweeping sections. One time I listen I feel the lyrics so deeply, and on the next time through I am drawn into everything that is going on musically.
“Oh Love” is the only song that wasn’t written by Thieves & Kings. The original hymn “Oh Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go” was written by George Matheson of Scotland in 1882. This T&K version was influenced musically by an acoustic rendition from Ascend the Hill. “Oh Love” is a magnificently modernized hymn and wasn’t made overly complicated.
At the song’s end, after a brief silence, we reach the beautiful final moments of the album with the sounds of footsteps and a door opening into a room where a lone voice is singing at the piano, a slight echo in the room. I actually felt chills the first time I heard it; “Oh God, I am nothing without Your Love.” This final clip feels like we are just peeking in on a very personal worshipful moment. That feeling of intimate worship percolates through this whole album.
In a creative indie rock, through stunning musicianship and earnest lyrics, Thieves & Kings delivers a refreshing and engaging modern worship album.
Thieves & Kings has a way of making each song come across unforced, and uncalculated, allowing the worship to overflow as naturally as taking a breath. I defy anyone to listen to this album and not be moved.
and keep up with the band on Facebook.