Reviewed by Tony Cummings
In an age when even "contemporary" worship can ossify into so many stylised and numbingly predictable stylistic templates (the Hillsong template, the Delirious/Sonicflood template) there needed to step forward someone like David Crowder, a man prepared to re-think the whole "worship album" conundrum - how to present songs some of which are suitable for congregational worship and yet embrace the full thrilling creative potential of 48 track recording and Pro-Tool editing. What he and his fellow band members have come up with is truly a groundbreaking album, possibly the first album that you could apply the descriptive phrase "a worship concept album." But even that bit of glib journalese fails to communicate the dazzling breadth and aural virtuosity shown on this dazzling soundscape. Like a documentary of the human condition it moves from radiant joy to deepest despair and from tongue-in-cheek irony to nakedly honest self-examination while the moods and textures it creates in its 21-track, 70 plus minutes show a band as eclecticly creative as any in the world. Sounds and styles segue and pass into each other in a relentless roller coaster. One second it's David's gruff and haunting voice against a piano and cellos, next there's a ricocheting drum loop and howling rock guitar that cut away into silence, David whistling, a choral rendition of an old spiritual, a knee-slapping hoedown and a wholly convincing move into Gaither territory for "I See The Light", a voice, guitar and the wind, turbulent electro, and on and on. Everything connects to everything else while in the process David Crowder offers songs like "Here Is Our King" and the utterly stunning prayer to God to awaken the Church, "Come Awake". Songs like these are good enough to be sung in churches around the world, hooky enough to be played where Christian radio operates, sonically exciting enough to entrance any home stereo fan with some time and some earphones and prophetic enough to implant words of life and hope into the hardest heart. Cross Rhythms seldom gets a chance to proclaim such things but on this occasion there can be no doubt, 'A Collision' is a classic which will be enjoyed and wondered at for decades to come.
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