It’s pretty hard to deny that many parts of this world that we live in are headed toward a dark place. It seems every day that we turn on the news and hear of yet another school shooting, of another racial injustice, or of yet another broken marriage, leaving a family trembling and hurting in its wake. Yet, there are those who dare to rise up and stand against that darkness that threatens to blot out the light, pointing to a source of strength far greater than anything this world has seen, giving true hope to a world in need.
Northeast collective Beautiful Mess is among the latter and they’ve been bringing their message of hope and faith to a growing set of audiences since 2009 when father and son Mike and Tim Ehrhart, along with Mike’s brother Chris, decided to pool their talents, hobbies, and resources together to form the group.
"Tim was learning to play the instruments, I was writing lyrics, and Chris was singing on worship teams and we did these things all independent of each other before finally deciding that maybe we should try putting these all together," shares Mike.
It’s been an organic process of growth for the band but is one that has continued to morph and develop over the years and that growth is apparent on the band’s latest effort, Word’s Getting Around.
Things open up with the bright tones of “Crazy,” layered organic percussion, keyboards, and guitars providing a warm and accessible foundation reminiscent of work by bands like MercyMe and Casting Crowns. Lead vocalist Chris Ehrhart’s strong vocals help to draw this comparison as well, his voice very similar in tone and texture to Bart Millard and Mark Hall as he sings through a lyric that shares, “It’s staying the same that’s insane/Wasting time playing the game/What if your dreams really were true?/Would it change what you say and what you do?”
Smooth grooves and hits of rich organ fills color the title track, the playful romp fun and engaging with a lyrical tale that takes a renewed look at what true success is, layering vocals in and out. It’s a solid track that, with a little more enhanced production value on the vocal, which feels a little muffled initially, could be a great track. Things head down an acoustic road with “Holding On” and it’s a welcome walk, the rich tones befitting the track’s praise filled lyric with an engaging hook.
“Alright” tackles the question of our run till you drop society, feeling the need to constantly be entertained or active, oftentimes finding us chasing after fleeting idols while working a moody arrangement into the mix, a solid acoustic plucking through gentle hits of keyboard and drum before building to an explosive ending, the theatrics hammering home the message powerfully. “Home Forever” closes things out, a slow building anthem featuring more layered vocals and solid musicianship, with Ehrhart passionately honestly singing, “Tired of empty days with nothing to say/Tired of all those games that shadows play/It was a past I had to leave/Moving towards a promise I believe” before coming to the stirring conclusion that “My past is washed away/I have a purpose for today/I have a home forever/I have a home,” ending the EP with a resounding note of hope.
With each release, Beautiful Mess keeps getting better and better and Word’s Getting Around is perhaps their best yet. Bringing together solid songwriting, well-crafted arrangements, and a great vocal, this collective is on the right path to bring their message of hope to the masses. Here’s to hoping that message gets the audience it deserves.