Reviewed by Oscar Hyde
David Crowder is a genuine icon of Christian music; his eponymous band set standards in inventive, high-concept worship music for an entire decade. With this being so, his solo debut is among the most-anticipated albums of 2014. And from the first banjo strums, it really does feel as if he's never gone away. But for this record, he's found far more of a niche than in the freewheeling creativity of earlier albums; Avicii's "Wake Me Up" or "Hey Brother" never feel very far away during the more uptempo tracks, and when Crowder does stray from this folktronica formula it doesn't always work-see, for example, when 'Come Alive' turns pseudo-dubstep. Similarly, even attempted midtempo anthems with powerful crescendos, such as 'Lift Your Head Weary Sinner', fall flat; when the album's tone is unrelenting euphoria and the production is totally committed to the loudness war, there's no space to breathe, no space for the catharsis that comes from proper quiet-loud dynamics. But none of the songs here are bad, and even country music's Emmylou Harris shows up to give the album proper old-school cred. 'Neon Steeple' is worth listening to, certainly; it can just become tiring beyond small doses. The Deluxe edition of the album also contains the Solomon Olds co-written "All This Glory", a remix of "Because He Lives", and a live version of John Mark McMillan's "How He Loves".
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