STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 93611-16758 LABEL: Survivor SURCD5180 FORMAT: CD Album RELEASE DATE: 2010-05-17 RRP: £1.00
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
With so much of today's modern worship music descending into unimaginative recreations of the last hit by Tim Hughes or Hillsong United, this profoundly satisfying record label debut by a Liverpool-based worship leader is a revelation. First off there is no hint of the husky-voiced singer trying to copy the vocal mannerisms of Smith and Redman; secondly, although the production allows for some serious guitar attack that is counter-pointed by effective cutaways to wistful keyboards and intriguing audio effects. But, as has been observed many times before, the primary focus of a worship album is neither the vocal performance nor the quality of the production but the power and tunefulness of the songs on offer. Here again Ian delivers. "Desperate" sees the singer intoning how he's "desperate to see your glory" in a memorable anthem; the soaring opener "Take My Life" (a modern revamp of the old Frances Havergal hymn); and the surging "Glorious Bride" would surely all work in a congregational setting. My favourite cuts are "Broken", which starts off as a depiction of broken humanity ("Children begging, children sold/Children abused from a few years old/Children working on a rubbish heap/Children empty, children weak") and ends in a powerful prayer ("We call forth justice/We call forth truth/We call forth peace upon our land"), and the epic-lengthed "We Are Righteous", which features a huskily-emotive vocal from Ian, stunning light and shade production from Trevor Michael and a preaching sample from the man who inspired the song, Joseph Prince. All in all, an epic album and congratulations should go to Ian, Trevor Michael and Kingsway Music's A&R man Adrian Thompson for giving a record label platform to a worship leader who doesn't have the big Bible Week connections or works at a major mega-church.
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Based in Liverpool, Ian leads worship at Elim Church, Bootle, in one of the most deprived areas of the UK. With a heart for worship and justice Ian longs to see a deep spiritual yearning for the Holy Spirit to break into people’s lives and the lives of the nation. Bringing hope to the hopelessness.
Musically Ian’s style ranges from artists like Kings Of Leon to Hillsong United, with a strong influence of teaching from people like Joseph Prince and Brian Houston.