King’s Kaleidoscope are one of those bands that have just been enough on my radar to know I like—but regretfully I haven’t dove in to know I’m a true fan.
Well, until now.
Enter Zeal. At my home church, Veritas Community Church (the home of Steadfast Festival 2016 and 2017), we sing “Fix My Eyes” as a congregation on a very regular basis. I sort of viewed KK as one of those Pacific NW hipster worship bands that our own band aspired to be.
Zeal kicks in the door to the proverbial room containing all those notions and says “to heck with that!” Yeah, heck. This is a worship band, remember? (I’m being facetious.)
KK isn’t afraid to push the ideas of what worship music can be. Zeal is more driving and derives influences from hip hop and R&B, and even a bit of electronica alongside the familiar territory I have half a mind to call “reverent indie” henceforth. “Hero Over My Head” is a very fun track that mixes all of the above in a way that flirts with being too much, but comes together just right—a risky move, but it’s a Goldilocks effect I can appreciate.
Zeal isn’t a concept record, but it certainly has some of the makings of one. Take the 3-part series in the latter half, for example. Inserting such a work into a “normal” record runs the risk of making the whole thing sound jumbled. To be honest, I’m not sure if they made the right decision, but I can say with relative certainty that the whole thing still feels sonically cohesive, in spite of the many directions they take.
The album is chock full of interesting lyrical twists, beginning with the intro track, with the theme “this is my fortunate fall,” a line which can be taken many different ways; especially today, Easter (the day I’m writing this). This is a worship record that not only is meant to direct our affections toward the Creator, but also challenge the listener. “Naked Feet and Holy Fire” has one of the coolest choruses I’ve heard in a long time—I mean read it:
Catch me I’m drifting behind Racing the tempest inside Shifting into overdrive Ready my spirit to ride Ready my spirit to ride Ready my spirit to ride
Not everything on this album is meant to challenge. Sometimes, they feel it appropriate to remind us that “oh, it’s gonna be okay with a little bit of faith.” The song where that comes from is an airy, light-hearted end to an album that begins with several adrenaline-inducing tracks, transitions into an emotional journey that almost makes us forget the thrills of earlier, and then ends on a light-hearted note.
It’s almost as if the album is meant to capture all the angles of the zeal for following God. Oh wait—that’s the album title.
Actually, the feeling for this album can be best summed up in a section of a voicemail the band received, which sums up the pursuit of zeal as “Shit! I gotta do something.”
Seek truth, dear reader. And in the meantime, enjoy this art.