Satellite - Church Come Alive

Published Friday 21st November 2014
Satellite - Church Come Alive
Satellite - Church Come Alive

RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 154019-22625
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Tom Lennie

Satellite is a visionary concept initiated by Scottish worship musician David Lyon with the aim of bringing together some of the rich musical talent found in churches across this northern nation in order to create an indigenous Scottish worship sound. The concept first found expression on the 2010 album: 'One Church One Voice', a collection of diverse songs that fulfil the original desire for theological soundness, lyrical freshness and melodic accessibility. Four years later sees the release of Satellite 2 - a dozen new songs featuring, in the main, writers and musicians making their debut Satellite appearance. Like its predecessor (and like David's solo recordings), 'Church Come Alive' avoids the rock anthem style that is virtually standard to modern praise albums, yet carries a sound that is both contemporary and refreshing. Certainly it has its louder moments ("Resurrecting Me" has a potent rock edge as it revels in Christ's resurrection power). But the predominant modes are folk/pop/Celtic, effecting a distinctive Scottish feel. Semi-acoustic in nature, many songs are graced with all manner of sonic hues, from accordion, bouzouki and Hammond organ, to cello, fiddle and harmonica - each deftly played. (Indeed, given the quality of musicianship, I'd like to have heard a bit more in way of instrumental breaks.) As you'd expect from a collective, strength of songs varies, but there does exist a delightful diversity of musical and lyrical aptitude. Russell Trueman's striking tenor tones on his own lyrically-rich 'To The Lord Of The Heavens' is a highlight, as is Paul Robertson's well-crafted "On Monday" which follows the Passion event in five day-verses from Thursday to Monday. This hymn is delivered by Ilse Ogston (who also wrote and sings the title cut) - one of three female songwriter/vocalists to take part - Ellyn Oliver and Yvonne Lyon also donning impressive lead (and co-) vocals on several tracks. What strikes me is the non-triumphalism of these varied songs - instead a recurrent recognition of brokenness and the centrality of the Cross, leading to a heartfelt rejoicing in the victories Christ won for us. They say the simplest worship songs are the best - certainly the gorgeous, unhurried "Exalt The Lord Our God" is the most directly adorational on the disc, being written and tenderly delivered by Steph Macleod and David Lyon. Other vocal and songwriting credits belong to Sam Gallagher (two), Mark Cameron, Stephen Huthison and Martin Williamson. This set certainly serves as further proof of the rich homespun musicianship extant across the Scottish Church (albeit mainly Lowland Scotland thus far). Here's hoping the vision will continue to develop and expand, allowing Scotland's worship scene to truly come into its own.

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Sample Track Listing:
1. Church Come Alive [Listen]
2. Lord Of Hosts [Listen]
3. Go And Tell The World [Listen]
4. Beloved And Friend [Listen]
5. To The Lord Of The Heavens [Listen]
6. Resurrecting Me [Listen]
7. On Monday [Listen]
8. Exalt The Lord Our God [Listen]
9. After The Darkness [Listen]
10. Spirit Of Jesus [Listen]
11. Strength To Trust [Listen]
12. Sing [Listen]

This track data is supplied by the Cross Rhythms CD/DVD review library. Please note that CD tracks may vary according to release region or product version.

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