There is no denying the immense talent of St. Louis singer-songwriter Krystol Wade. Her piano-driven power pop is beautifully composed and her overly sweet voice echoes Regina Spektor, while her lyrics are more in the vein of Amy Grant. The latter comparison is the more important one though because all four songs on the Pennies and Sparrows EP are baptized in religious references and contain characters that are lost and seeking to be found as well as people struggling with their faith. Wade, who is very proud of her Christian faith recorded the EP at the Christian university, Greenville College, where she studied music.
Pennies and Sparrows opens with the bouncy piano-driven “Stay,” which gains dynamic from lightly rim tapped drums and sparsely inserted xylophones that ring in just the right places. Though lurking beneath all this topical beauty is the meaning below the surface as Wade sings, “Remember when you went astray/ And you forgot to seek my face/ Don't let that repeat so stay /Why don't you take the time to pray?” The message is there for the listening, however the melody is so catchy it’s easy to miss the lyrics.
On “Morning Light” a song that ripples with soft piano, strings, floor pounding drums and lyrically unfolds like a prayer, Wade no longer tries to mask her meanings. As she sings, “I wait for the Lord/My whole being waits/And in His word I put all my hope, all my hope.” The song is a beautiful piece of pop balladry. This could also be said of the melodically metaphoric title track “Pennies and Sparrows,” which comes as close to a Christian Rock jam session as is possible. Here Wade tells the stories of three different young women she met at a Bible camp, and she tells each of the girl’s stories over rollicking piano. The EP closes with “This Moment,” a song on which Wade turns inward to look closely at herself. The song also acts as a personal praising of the Lord, a musical “Thank You” letter of sorts for the opportunities God has given her life and she is promising not to waste them.
Genre music is perhaps the toughest sect in the music business though there are plenty of people for whom Pennies and Sparrows would be an instant classic. With that being said, if Wade were looking to step outside of the realm of Christian influences though still continuing with her same sound, she may very well find herself lost in a sea of similarity.
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