Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
Forget album of the month, this could be a contender for album of the year. It's nearly 10 years since the 'Vision' album and though he hasn't exactly been idle, the return of Eaton as an artist is long overdue! Having contributed musically to the careers of the cream of CCM, it's Chris' turn to be in the spotlight and 'Wonderful World' is a platinum plated calling card. The first thing that strikes you about this album is the freshness of it all. This is a recording born out of passion. Lyrically, the songs touch themes of hurt and healing, regeneration and spiritual revival. Musically, it's an atmospheric experience. "Harvest Years" has a sort of Peter Gabriel feel to it, with its ethnic sounds but making musical comparisons is a frustrating experience because this doesn't quite sound like anything. Even Eaton's voice seems to have taken on a new passion, particularly on the title song "Wonderful World", where his plaintive vocal performance is spine tingling. What really makes this recording special is the way Eaton manages to capture so much of God's compassion in his lyrics. Born out of his personal experiences, there is an honesty in the 10 songs that is refreshing. If you're hurting, this album will feed hope into your soul. There have been times when I've been listening to this in the car and have been reduced to tears - very embarrassing in Birmingham traffic jams!! There's something prophetic about songs like "Let Them Come To Me" and "Something New" which communicate God's heart with such clarity. There's also the bubbly joy of the album's opening song "Everlasting Love" which makes it infectious listening and potentially, a big hit. "Westworld" is classic pop with poetic lyrics and a fab backing vocal from Out Of The Grey's Christine Dente. Also included is his 1991 single "Breath Of Heaven", which Amy Grant covered on her last Christmas album but the song that really takes your breath away is the album's closer "Renaissance". It is a dreamy ocean of sound which literally washes over you with its wave effects, gentle Dann Huff acoustic guitar and Eaton's vocals floating across the surface. Simply beautiful! Gobsmacking is the only word that adequately describes 'Wonderful World'! Chris Eaton's spiritual renaissance has led him to a musical rebirth and now that he's signed to Sparrow, we won't have to wait until 2005 for the next album!
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