Kingdom of Comfort: No Business As Usual
Last modified: 04 Feb 2008
Label: Furious? Records
Date: 04 Feb 2008
Delirious? are back with their eleventh studio album - Kingdom of Comfort. Due for release on April 14, the album contains twelve tracks and was recorded in England during autumn and winter 2007.
And that, dear readers, is about as far as you're going to get with the standard format for this release. Forget the typical lines of enquiry - this one's going to take a little more effort. But once you've got your head around the shift, you'll find it hard to see the release any other way.
This is an album, more than any other from Delirious?, that is soaked in experience. While The Mission Bell and World Service were aspirational - charging on towards new destinations - Kingdom of Comfort narrates the experiences and plots the journey that the band have been on in the last couple of years. After all, when you've spent years exposed to both the realities of poverty and the pampering of the five star dream, there's a very good chance that you're going to end up utterly uncomfortable. So it's all there - no hiding allowed. Delirious? twist and yearn their way through it all: cancer, wealth, poverty, ego, and faith, faith, faith.
But this is more than a self-indulgent therapy session. Kingdom of Comfort connects with so much of what is going on with the church these days - the sense that the days of black and white thinking might be best left in the past and the belief that our faith urges us to engage with many of the world's most pressing problems, rather than have us close our eyes to them.
Since Kingdom of Comfort reflects so much of what is being discussed, read and written it made perfect sense to have a few guest contributors to the project. Yet instead of getting Rob Bell in to play second tambourine on track four, the band opened things up a little wider by inviting certain authors to contribute their thoughts on the theme to a 32 page hardback book that comes with the album. Among the lyrics and photos are varied, yet inspiring pieces from Shane Claiborne, Brian McLaren, Bishop Graham Cray and Craig Borlase.
'This is the Gospel that should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable', writes author of The Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claiborne.
He's right, too. Very right.
Boundaries being what they are for the band these days, they've even decided to shake things up on the money front. A proportion of their royalties will be given to help the work of Prem Kiran - a feeding, health and education project working with children of commercial sex workers in Mumbai, India. Having visited the project a number of times - and even taken many of their children along - the band have decided to donate a portion of the royalties from each CD to provide one day's food, shelter, education or healthcare to Prem Kiran and its partner projects.
Writing in the album's book, Martin Smith explains:
'Whilst touring through India we visited a humanitarian project in one of the red light districts in Mumbai. Frankly it was a shock to us to see women enslaved in such circumstances but moreso their own children growing up in a completely hopeless environment. The team there were taking these kids off the street at night and housing them, feeding them and giving basic education. It's hard for a rock band to know how to respond but we knew our hearts had been pulled out and put back a different way. We had to DO something and so we have committed to give part of our royalties to the children of Prem Kiran.'
But what about the songs? Chatting recently Martin explained that once they got in the studio to start putting notes and tones and lyrics on these feelings and experiences, the sounds that came out were utterly uncomfortable - 'it was messy and raw, not like it often is with us. We knew that something different had happened. We knew things wouldn't be the same again.'
The result is... well, we'll leave that for another press release, shall we?
'Delirious? will donate 20UKpence of their royalties from each CD to Prem Kiran in India via Joyce Meyer Ministries, UK registered charity number 1081586'