Reviewed by Tony Cummings
When lead singer John James left and the band decided to take over the production chair from the brilliant Steve Taylor, many predicted that the team would tumble from their huge US popularity. In fact 'Step Up To The Microphone' produced four US Christian radio number one hits. Now the band are back with their eighth set and it's a fine one, playing to all the band's strengths, hooky choruses, some biting guitar rhythms and a sound that is made for maximum pop radio plays. The title track does indeed have some disco elements, like that Chic-like guitar rhythm and a fussy string arrangement, without ever being a dance floor opus. And "Good Stuff", with a decidedly funky groove, even features a bit of scratching to lend bite to a modern rock cut. But it's the Bealle-esque ballad "Beautiful Sound" which is the stone killer on this set, a haunting song exploring the paradoxes of a faith where "to have found you and still be looking for you" yet leaves us with a determination "to be chasing you like you were chasing me." The band apparently went into the studio with a staggering 40 songs, so not surprisingly the ones that made it to this set are all strong. Clearly the Australian/US pop rockers have more sanctified hits to give us.
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