Graham Kendrick - Illuminations: A Celebration Of Truth To Lighten Our Darkness

Saturday 1st June 1996
Graham Kendrick - Illuminations: A Celebration Of Truth To Lighten Our Darkness
Graham Kendrick - Illuminations: A Celebration Of Truth To Lighten Our Darkness

STYLE: MOR / Soft Pop
LABEL: Alliance ALD060
RRP: £10.20

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer

It's like a dream: Graham Kendrick takes some of his best loved songs and radically re-records them for the 90s, pushing back his own musical borders to embrace new ideas, new arrangements, new styles. Kendrick has produced a radical unique powerful worship experience that finally teams his impressive songwriting skills with an expressive form of music that will grab your attention and lift your life. Actually, it IS only a dream. I'm lying! Instead, Kendrick takes what is probably the highest budget for a CCM album in Britain this year and squanders it on a bland, unimaginative, meandering tread through his back catalogue. It's glossy, it's impeccably produced but it's a totally predictable plod from a man who appears to have run out of new ideas. This is so middle of the road that it's a wonder our Graham doesn't get run over. Where once Kendrick appeared able to write stirring songs that inspired a generation of Christians to rise and worship God in a new way, these days it seems as though he is stuck between the commercial tram lines that demand new Kendrick product every few months to sell to 20 to 30 thousand mediocrity-addicted church goers. In the last decade Kendrick has found his niche and it's been milked to the point where if he recorded an album of burping his followers would still rush to buy it simply because it's Kendrick. I write this knowing that no matter what I say, the cult of Kendrick continues to consume his albums but I can't help the nagging feeling that those who buy this are being creatively short changed. Like the number nine bus, there'll be another album along soon just like this one and sadly those whose appreciation of Christian music doesn't stretch much beyond Cliff and Stoneleigh will snap them up without thinking even once. Rather than being driven by commercial demands, wouldn't it be something if Graham stayed out of the studio for a while until he'd written 10 absolute corkers and then recorded them with fresh, inspiring creative arrangements? Until then, I can dream can't I?

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Tom Blair-Fish in West Sussex @ 16:21 on Nov 26 2012

Having re-visited 'Illuminations' after some 15 years, and frankly, quite enjoyed it, I must assume that Mike Rimmer actually got out of bed the wrong side, the day he wrote his review ... or did someone forget to put sugar in his coffee !? Though I have great respect for Mike (after all I have bought countless CDs on his word) I can't believe he would be SO damming of Graham, not to mention the quality band and singers on this 'live' worship project, if he was writing today. PLEASE adjust the rating to 8/10 without delay !

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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