Audio Review: “Bigger Than Sunday” – Triumphant Quartet

by Kyle Boreing | February 9, 2021 2:00 PM

Produced by Wayne Haun, Scotty Inman, Jason WebbJoshua FrerichsKris Crunk, Chipper Hammond
StowTown Records

triumphantquartet.com
Format: CD & Digital
Release Date: February 5, 2021
Format Reviewed: Streaming

SONG TITLES: Best Thing (Chuck Butler/Scotty Inman/Tony Wood) / He Walked Out (Jason Cox/Scotty Inman/Kenna Turner West) / How Saved I Am (Jason Cox/Scotty Inman/Kenna Turner West) / Bigger Than Sunday (Benji Cowart/Scotty Inman/Tony Wood) / Don’t Miss Jesus (Michael Farren/Scotty Inman/Tony Wood) / Way Maker (Osinachi Okoro) / Sing Hallelujah (Scotty Inman/Amanda Kinner/Jacob Lowery) / Goodness of God (Ed Cash/Ben Fielding/Jason Ingram/Brian Johnson/Jenn Johnson) / Hope is Holding Me (Scotty Inman/Don Koch/Tony Wood) / Triumphant Medley: When the Trumpet Sounds / Chain Breaker / Somebody Died for Me / Amazing God / Saved by Grace / (Carroll McGruder/Christy Sutherland/Jonathan Lindley Smith/Sue C. Smith/Wayne Haun/Joel Lindsey/Kyle Matthews/Lee Black/Mia Fieldes/Janice L. Crow/Zach Williams)

If you ask any SG fan to name the best SG album of the last five years, you’d most likely hear Triumphant’s name come up with what many consider their landmark album, Yes. The album was nominated for a Dove Award and won the Singing News Album of the Year. Such a highly-regarded project was always going to be tough to follow.

Enter Bigger Than Sunday, Triumphant’s follow-up to Yes in more way than one. If their previous release was meant to test the waters of more progressive sounds, then their latest effort solidifies the quartet as a force to be reckoned with in cross-genre Christian music.

Their first single, “He Walked Out,” is a driving latin-infused number that, I admit, took me a couple listens to really appreciate, but is just so catchy that it’s almost impossible not to find yourself humming along. “Sing Hallelujah” is another envelope-pusher, but just bouncy enough that I think it would do very well on SG radio, especially in a time when a Third Day cover can hit number one.

The title track also enjoys easy ear-worm status with probably the most contemporary-sounding arrangement on the album (which, in this case, is a good thing, because without such an arrangement, the song would fall lyrically flat; I have to give kudos to co-producers Wayne Haun and Scotty Inman for apparently being aware of this).

As has become a habit on the last several Triumphant albums, the group borrows two (technically three, but I’ll get to that) songs from the modern worship field – “Way Maker” and “Goodness of God.” The former features a solid performance from tenor David Sutton, while the latter gives bass, Eric Bennett, a chance to carry a full song on melody (as well as show off his impressive upper range). In both instances, the group wisely chooses to limit the bridges (unlike their P&W counterparts who seemingly are paid by the number of times a bridge is repeated). Special call-out to the use of “God Is So Good” in “Goodness of God,” which works surprisingly well.

The more “traditional” songs on the album seem to be given to Clayton Inman, which isn’t all that surprising, given his musical history within the SG genre. “Don’t Miss Jesus” is a very timely warning against division, both in society and within the church, while “How Saved I Am” would also make a good choice to send to radio.

I really only can pinpoint two “gripes” about the album (and these are just personal preferences)…

One is the pacing. Starting an album off with a slow song can be risky, and while “Best Thing” is a good song, it feels more like an album closer than opener. Granted, in an era where every song on an album is essentially a single and most people will probably hear these songs on shuffle within a playlist, pacing probably isn’t as big of a deal now as it once was, so this is just a minor complaint.

The other has to do with the Triumphant Medley, a collection of well-known songs the group has previously recorded. It’s not bad by any means, and I can see this arrangement working very well on stage (which may have been part of the reason for recording it in the first place), but it’s presence on this album seems a little off, especially considering one of the songs is still fairly recent. That being said, I can kinda understand the group wanting to assure fans that they haven’t gone too far progressive by including these snippets. Had it been me, I probably would’ve saved it as a live album.

As I’ve stated before, one of Triumphant’s biggest assets is Scotty Inman. Aside from once again having a hand in writing a good chunk of this album, Scotty also steps into the co-producer’s chair alongside Wayne Haun (with assistants from an assortment of co-producers for various songs). After nearly two decades with the quartet, Inman knows what works, and his talents definitely shine through. The album has a modern sound without going overboard, both in sound quality and arrangements.

Again, following up such a landmark album can be a daunting task, but Bigger Than Sunday succeeds at not only turning in another solid album, but continuing to push the boundaries of what quartet music can be.

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