In a world where most music written by Christians comes off sounding contrived and shallow, Ester Drang's Goldenwest is a welcome surprise. Here you will find melodies that sound honest and thoughtful, not just simply songs that are trying to sound like every other song in the market today. This is real music.
Unfortunately, as real as it is, I found Goldenwest to get rather dull once I reached the fifth song or so. Maybe it's the fact that some of the first songs, especially "Is Nothing New" and "Repeating the Procedure," have such an emotional power to them that the remaining tracks sound pale in comparison. The only song that is at least listenable near the end is probably "How Good is Good Enough," with its striking, dramatic chorus.
Ester Drang's instrumentation is wonderfully diverse. Even in its dull moments, I had to admire the use of strings, chimes, and other instruments. It gives the album far more personality than if it only contained standard guitars and drums. Just listen to the beautifully-orchestrated title track to see what I mean.
If Ester Drang can learn to improve in the next few years, they could become a group to rival Radiohead and other legendary, unique artists. As they are, Ester Drang is better than most of the music world, but they still need practice. I sincerely hope they succeed.