‘Hymns II’ album review
album: Hymns II
artist: Poor Bishop Hooper
release date: November 26, 2021
star rating: five out of five
review by Brennen Smith
Jesse and Leah Roberts, husband-and-wife band who have released over 100 psalms as songs together under the moniker Poor Bishop Hooper, recently put out their second EP of classical church hymns. They have maintained their somber style but have overall built a stronger and more diverse instrumental backing compared to their first Hymns EP. The track list contains “Of The Father’s Love Begotten,” “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus,” “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming,” “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” and “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice.”
The first track begins with a single voice and single background note, reminiscent of creation ex nihilo from God’s holy voice in the first chapter of Genesis in the Bible. The harmony of Leah’s multiple vocal trackings appear to be more seamless and also used in more interesting ways in this song and throughout Hymns II. My favorite song on the album, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” is also the most unique due to the use of percussion and Jesse taking lead vocals. The minimalistic percussion gives a picture of Jesus slowly trudging to Jerusalem.
Hymns II is a welcome sound to people tired of the fluffy, self-help sounding worship songs used in most churches with a modern approach. Why continue to create new, lukewarm music when there is a treasure trove of theologically sound and beautiful hymns throughout the ages? Poor Bishop Hooper gathers from this trove for an improvement on their first Hymns EP and a boon to worship music, music overall, and Christendom. I look forward to what this duo will bring forth in the future and highly recommend this album.