Reviewed by Alastair McCollum
Carrying on in the vein of passionate, well crafted songwriting which has marked Webb's career both as part of Caedmon's Call and on his solo releases, this is also a development in his musical journey with a wider selection of styles and instruments than was heard on previous releases. This is perhaps a fuller working out of the variety glimpsed on some of this tracks from his 2003 release 'She Must And Shall Go Free' with not an acoustic guitar in sight until the final track. 'The Ringing Bell' is an immensely listenable album, carefully produced and musically sharp. Here we see a gentler side to the songsmith - the music has a 'retro pop' vibe, with songs like "I Don't Want To Fight" adding strings and jangly guitars to a catchy hook and "Name" sporting a bass line reminiscent of later Beatles tracks. Throughout, the songs feel very personal, with lyrics speaking to events and people in Derek's own life, reflecting his own love affair with God, and calling hearers to a commitment to Christian life which should infuse our lives. Webb's willingness to try something different in the feel of this album pays off, from the opening noises (his term, not mine) which sound like a heartbeat on an ultrasound scan, to the stripped down acoustic and voice track "This Too Shall Be Made Right", which closes the CD. An album of maturity, style and substance.
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