The winds are blowing through again, so we must follow. A people daring to believe we can change tomorrow, and be the miracle of light… Now is the time for us to shine.” – Martin Smith
Delirious? has done the unthinkable in a constantly changing marketplace where the trend of the moment often dictates a band’s direction. Not only has the group managed to stay together through thick and thin (with its original lineup, no less), but it’s also continued to make music on its own terms. Globally. The band, a galvanizing force that changed the face of worship, played dates in 23 countries last year alone. From those stages they looked over masses of people from every race and creed, most recently playing in front of a million people at World Youth Day in Germany. How does a band stay motivated to create, motivated to tour, year after year? What else is to be gained? Why the sense of urgency after so many years?
“We are in this age - 13 years into the band - where these are questions we all talk about when we get off stage. The footnotes of all the conversations are ‘We love what we do, but there’s gotta be more.’ We want to make a change,” answers frontman Martin Smith. “Surely, this whole God thing is not just for putting Christian records out. Surely God has called us to higher things. I think it’s using the thing that God has given us to make a difference, whether small or large.”
This is the shared vision of Smith, guitarist Stu G, keyboardist Tim Jupp, bassist Jon Thatcher and drummer Stew Smith, delivered in the vessel that is The Mission Bell. What really separates The Mission Bell, quite possibly the bands most ambitious offering, from the pack (or even Delirious?’ previous efforts) is the urgency, the call to action for the Church to quit talking about what it believes and to take action with all it’s been given. “I think there’s a lot of inspiration for people to get out of these songs,” says Stu G. “I think it’ll help some folks kind of work out their calling, work out what they’re supposed to be doing.”
In “Our God Reigns,” the band’s global emphasis continues as it tackles the subject of social injustice, particularly A.I.D.S., abortion and the constant focus of Western culture on self-improvement and materialism, definitely not the usual subject matter for rock ’n’ roll, but something Martin felt was important to address.
“All I had was the chorus when I started out, and I thought ‘Oh, fantastic, this is going to be another little church song that everyone will sing. That will be great.’ But I could not write any verses for it, and all of the sudden, these heavy lyrics came out,” Martin recalls. What happens is the marriage of a most heavenly chorus with the boldest most poignant verses on the record. At this point in listening to the album it is clear there will be no sidestepping the message Delirious? has to deliver.
And this message will resonate all over America as the band’s first stateside radio single from the recording, “Now is the Time,” continues its call to action. “It was the beginning of a new year, and this song simply started as an encouragement for our own people at church to believe we were a 'city on a hill' and that the lives we live do make a difference in our community,” Martin says. “The God we believe in really is alive and wants to transform us and to take responsibility for this generation. The lyrics set the tone for the whole record as we explore the theme of mission and what it means to be a true follower of God.”
And at the end of the recording journey that began last February for The Mission Bell, we find a Delirious? that has received an RIAA Certified Gold album, seen plenty of spotlights and looked out over vast crowds. Now, more than ever, things are personal. A little more broken, a little more fragile, a little more determined. Now is the time all right.
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