STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 161672-24058 LABEL: 7Core Music 7CLP00109 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2016-09-23 RRP: £9.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
To my mind, Ian Yates is one of the best British worship leaders and songwriters and is up there with the Redmans and Hughes. Several of his songs, creatively produced by 7Core Music's Trevor Michael, have long enriched my spiritual life. This latest set is again truly memorable, the opener "Highwire" having already connected with Cross Rhythms listeners since its release as a single. Starting with little more than piano and voice and building to a surging anthem, it is a song deserving of the widest exposure. Ian is one of those rare songwriters who is able to pen words of stark simplicity (eg, "You always hold me/Now I'm holding onto you") and have them sounding both eloquent and sincere. There is another fine song in "Dream Again". In an era of TV talent searches and positive psychology claptrap we are awash with "believe the dream" exhortations which are nothing but hollow appeals to our self-centredness and vanity. "Dream Again" is a very different kind of song opening us to God-breathed dreams that are essential if we are to move from our spiritual torpor. All the songs on 'Awaken To Love' are Ian Yates compositions with two daring exceptions. "No Longer" takes the ancient hymn "At The Cross" written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748) and with a fresh coat of production paint (love that single thudding kick drum every four bars) and an uplifting chorus ("It is no longer I, it is Christ who lives in me") Ian and Trevor turn it into an anthem which would work in any football stadium or backstreet church hall. Even more daring is Ian's take on "All You Need Is Love". Yes, it's the Beatles' song, and with a couple of minor adjustments to take out some of the inherent jollity of the Lennon/McCartney melody you find it's a song which fits perfectly on an album expressing our feelings towards the God who is love.
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Ian's 5th studio album, produced by Trevor Michael, is creating a good measure of excitement. His last album, DNA , peaked at number 5 in the Official UK Christian and Gospel album chart and won Contemporary Album Of The Year on Never For Nothing's 2014 annual awards.
High Wire will be the first single (download only) - a song co-written with Nick Herbert about trusting God in the unknown.
Ian leads worship at events and churches across the UK and is part of the Elim Sound core team, which exists to Inspire, Equip and Encourage the church in worship.