"The presence of God is the most infectious experience anyone can have, it is unique, awesome and life changing, and once encountered you simply can never be the same again."
The words of Ken Riley, singer and frontman with one of the UKâ€™s most influential groups of the last of decade or two: the soon-to-be-ending yFriday.
2010 will be the Newcastle-based bandâ€™s last year, bringing to an end a remarkable journey.
Early days saw the band and their extended-family of singers, shouters and supporters bouncing around to the beats of firework guitars and skyscraping drums. They were good days - the right music for the right time - and the passion continued through the years. With the album â€˜Great And Gloriousâ€™ the band became what was right for later years: a collection of believers, putting words and tunes to the truths they are discovering about God. And this became their promise; to lead us a little closer, shine the light a little brighter and raise the bar still higher for worship bands of the day.
It all makes sense when you think about it. In 2008 Yfridayâ€™s Ken Riley was the first Christian artist to receive an ASCAP Award for his co-write with Brenton Brown on â€˜Everlasting Godâ€™ - a track which had burned its way into the subconscious of millions of Christians the world over and had become one of the top twenty most played songs across all genres in the USA. Add that to the bandâ€™s continual commitment to working with the likes of British Youth For Christ, hosting monthly outreach and worship events in their hometown of Newcastle, and itâ€™s obvious that something significant was about to emerge over the horizon.
â€™Great And Gloriousâ€™ was their most recent - and most grown up - record. An album of depth and feeling but rooted in the bandâ€™s core principles of hooks, melodies, guitars and raw, honest appeal. The album contains the trademark Yfriday bounce-ups - like â€˜Joy Of The Lordâ€™, â€˜Aliveâ€™ and the title track - but it is the presence of a number of slower, more obviously worshipful tracks that mark this release out. â€˜You Spokeâ€™ is rooted in Biblical truth, â€˜Saviour & Friendâ€™ uploads the intimate truth of a personal revelation of God while â€˜Come Let Us Worshipâ€™ is as strong a call to worship as you could ever hope to hear.
Perhaps the clearest example of their ultimate destination was the track â€˜You Will Not Steal Our Childrenâ€™. Getting the Trinity, Lazarus, the exodus and a powerful declaration of spiritual steadfastness into one song is no mean feat, but pulling it off in such a powerful and infinitely singable song as this is remarkable. Stuff like this can only come from the heart, and just one listen is enough to confirm that Yfridayâ€™s will continue to beat long after the final gigs are over.