The mood of the whole of Hide No Truth can be summed up in one devastating couplet in “Coming Unglued”;
“So blessed Lord Jesus, what should I do? They say they love You… and I love You, too.”
Hide No Truth isn’t devoid of hope, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of the songs therein. Four songs in, I was tempted to take a break and switch to something more upbeat. Could it be that I’m too coddled in my spiritual upbringing? Or is this temptation simply an effect of my sitting in this Panera Bread, surrounded by upbeat conversation, having just downed a tasty cinnamon roll on this Saturday morning?
Nonetheless, I press on. This album demands my full attention. When someone is being as vulnerable as Nate Allen is, this response is the least I can do.
As I alluded early on, the record is the story of enduring spiritual abuse and hypocrisy at the hands of the institutional church over the course of Allen’s life. The story is left open-ended and optimistic, a suggestion that God’s sovereignty will overcome all. Another effect that emphasizes that “punch in the gut” feeling is that Nate does not exonerate himself from the effects of sin—the human condition that all suffer from. It’s a tricky balancing act of coming to terms with the ways he’s been hurt and the fact that he is not free from the influence of sin and pain. He is not complicit in the ways he’s been victimized by the church, but he (and all of us) still have to come to terms with the fact that we are all affected by and perpetuate a human problem that drives those who have hurt us.
The album begins and ends with optimism. I like that the album leaves room for redemption. My personal stance is that healing can begin where there’s forgiveness and hope. Grace and forgiveness don’t mean freedom from earthly consequences or forgetting what was done. The album closer “Better” is an expression of both desperation and hope, and a fitting end. My favorite moment on this record might be the worshipful “Lightning.” In it Allen prays:
So where no hope is found When silence is the loudest sound With triumphance and resound May your love break forth as the lightning touches down
Powerful stuff, man.
By the way, all of this is backed by an ensemble of ambient noisemakers, which a composition well-suited for enveloping the listener in a mindset suitable for absorbing Allen’s words. The tones are somber, reverent, hopeful—sometimes all of the above in the same song.
Take a listen to Hide No Truth, and let us know what you think.