Published June 18, 2013
Religion and “rock ‘n’ roll” are uneasy bedfellows. It seems fair to say that most Christian bands don’t shout about their religion from the rooftops. From Low to Owl City to Belle & Sebastian, religion is often a subtext, and it does seem like a valid concern that overt piety might be off-putting to a young, international, generally atheistic Western audience. Mumford & Sons keep their religion subtle in their lyrics, but still it comes up in every interview; The Arcade Fire “came out” in their music only after ‘Funeral’ had already propelled them to worldwide fame.
Hymnalaya, for better or for worse, completely ignore such concerns, setting out their stall bravely from the band name onwards. “A Colt For a King” is the album’s opening gambit—a gentle, peaced-out indie-folk hymn quite possibly written from the perspective of Jesus’s donkey—a parable set to music, in effect.
If any non-believer-readers are feeling queasy right about now, there’s good news too. Just as it’s hard not to love hippies for their right-minded views on peace and love etc., this family of hippie-Christians have produced a sweet-hearted album studded with memorable tunes.