I can’t help but be extremely proud of duo, The Arrows, when I hear one of their tracks on the radio, feeling especially chuffed at being a girl and South African and a Christian all at the same time since they are, well, girls and South Africans and God loving, all at the same time too. Needless to say I was so sad when I read that they will be splitting up. The pair posted a message on their Facebook page last week, detailing their decision to break up the band, assuring their folllowers that they each support the other’s decision. With this in mind, I decided to do a special review to their debut album, Make Believe, released in 2010. The album, which was a massive success in South Africa, has a very authentic sound in that Pam de Menezes (Now Myburgh) and Christie Desfontaine (Now Joseph) did not try to mimic the latest ‘hot and happening’ Christian band, but instead, they focused on showcasing their worship – full of flavor and spunk, with absolutely no clichés to be found!
A little more about the girls: Pam de Menezes, brilliantly talented on vocals and keys, is a classically trained jazz musician. Christie Desfontaine, the cheeky and very gifted drum and percussionist, describes herself as “an atmosphere of thumpingly evangelical euphoria.” The pair were born and raised in Durban, South Africa and served passionately at their local church where Desfontaine’s mother pastors, until God opened doors for them in the broader musical arena.
You may recognize the first single off the Make Believe album, titled “Love sick”. It pretty much became a household anthem after featuring in a popular KFC ad in 2010.The track serves as a very pop inspired introduction to the band and showcases their fresh sound and songwriting skills. My favorite lines are “I’m love sick and waiting for the day when You’ll make everything brand new.”
Opening track, “No robots”, is an orchestra of synths and sounds, and speaks about God taking a chance on us by giving us freedom of choice, because He wants our love and not programmed robots. “Oh it’s poetry it’s genius/You don’t want robots/You want our love!”
De Menezes has a tongue in cheek way of writing which is evident in songs like “Entropy” and “World Interrupted”. Both songs seems to be written as a wake up call for people to open their eyes to what is going on in the world! I love that both songs are written and performed in cabaret style, which gives greater emphasis to the lyric. And though different, it still maintains a catchy, “now” vibe, with Desfontaine on drums adding energy and flair to the repertoire.
I really love “All in”, which is a sassy faith song speaking about going ‘all in’ with God and putting all your hope in Him. Again, de Menezes really has a way of saying things! It’s another synth party and a really fun song to listen to, with the message hitting home at just the right spots.
Title track, “Make Believe”, is a piano driven ballade where she croons about waiting for God, her beloved, like a lovesick fool. De Menezes vocals is nothing short of pure and really adds something beautiful to the already beautiful lyric. Another beauty of a ballade is “Ode to a patient God”. This song made me feel such sorrow for friends and family who do not know the Lord. It reminded me how wonderful it is to know Him. To know that He waits for us, patiently, never giving up, because He loves us that much… and yet there are so many who do not know this love! This song really moved me.
My favorite song to play in the car is “One for the brothers.” It is a dance song which speaks directly to unbelievers, again, in that sassy way that de Menezes seems to be so good at, but with a totally groovy beat and really excellent production. I especially enjoy the little bonus outtro that happens a few seconds after the song ends, during which De Menezes goes off into a rap-sing-song, urging those who do not know the Lord to “make a plan” and get to know Him. So fun! So fresh!
I love how The Arrows have managed to fuse the Message with a sound that can speak to the youth of today. I found this album to be really inspiring and thought provoking, while still being able to make me dance AND enter into a beautiful moment with God. If you’re looking for something funky to play while driving home from work – If you’re looking for cool music for your birthday party – If you’re looking for something to put into your headphones or something that will stir you up and get you thinking… this is it!
So I will end this off with saying a huge thank you to The Arrows – Pam De Menezes Myburgh and Christie Desfontaine Joseph. We thank you and salute you for being bold enough to write songs that say things that should be said, in this time and season and for being passionate enough to make music that is God focused, aiming the arrow of truth straight for the spirit of anyone who listens.
This review was originally written for and published in Gateway News