STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 178275-29034 LABEL: Hillsong Music FORMAT: CD Album
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
The latest in a long line of annual releases from Australian praise group Hillsong Worship bucks the trend by being the conglomerate's first fully studio-recorded album for over two decades and this move away from the live arena is a welcome one. Expertly crafted and satisfyingly creative, this release finds the packed writing team - almost exclusively male for some reason - offering up top notch songs that succeed in slicing through the mire of similar-sounding worship fare that currently dominates today's market. What makes this album so refreshing is that it actually sounds like a journey from start to finish as opposed to a random collection of praise tunes and hats off to the production boffins for structuring the track listing in such a way as to provide a truly potent listening experience. Of course, all the hallmarks of a modern worship release as still present from the bombastic anthemic openers and lengthy slow build closers sandwiching the quieter bits in the middle to the reworkings of old standards (the doxology piece "From Whom All Blessings Flow" and a snatch of Handel in "He Shall Reign", for example) but the skill with which the folks at Hillsong communicate praise for God instrumentally, vocally and thematically makes any claims of formulism null and void on this occasion. Brooke Ligertwood's distinctive vocal performance on the likes of "Awake My Soul" and the new church favourite "King Of Kings" stand out as do more tender moments such as the simply beautiful harp-led plea to the Holy Spirit "Upper Room" but, in truth, this is an album full of highlights and certainly one of Hillsong's strongest ever releases.
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