Israel & New Breed - Covered: Alive In Asia

Published Thursday 10th March 2016
Israel & New Breed - Covered: Alive In Asia
Israel & New Breed - Covered: Alive In Asia

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 157376-23477
LABEL: RCA Inspiration 888750279620
RELEASE DATE: 2015-09-18
RRP: £9.99

Reviewed by Matt McChlery

Israel Houghton has long been an important figure in bringing together the two differing strands of Christian music - white CCM/praise and worship and African American gospel praise - and the fact that 'Covered' has enjoyed huge sales and won Mr Houghton and his New Breed accompanists a Grammy shows that his popularity is in no way waning. This project was recorded live during the aggregation's Asian tour that saw them perform in Indonesia, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Seoul and Manila. Houghton is often hailed as an artist that crosses cultural divides as well as helping to transform the gospel music genre. Indeed he has been writing and recording amazing gospel music for decades and has collaborated with songwriters from different genres over the years. However, in this regard I find this album disappointing. Yes, he has co-written songs on the album with the likes of Australian musician Darlene Zschech and has put his own musical stamp on Bethel Music's "One Thing Remains" that contains lots of keyboard special effects and some interesting gospel chordal arrangements. But the album is very samey in its sound - it sits extremely well alongside any other Israel Houghton & New Breed album. Recorded live in Asia, and with a map of Asia on the cover, one would expect some songs to experiment with some Asian influences or collaborations with a few Asian artists. Sadly, apart from the 31 second introduction "Kau Rajaku" by Sari Simorangkir, this recording is devoid of any Asian influences and featured artists are mostly from North America. It is a bit like travelling all the way to Singapore for a holiday and going to the American fast-food giant McDonalds for lunch rather than being more adventurous by rubbing shoulders with the locals and sampling some of the authentic Asian street-food cuisine. However, it is not all doom and gloom! The standout track for me is the gentler, yet more authentic track "Breathe Your Name" that invites surrender and repentance. The production is of a high standard and the musicianship is second to none. It is just a pity that this recording has missed an opportunity to explore cross-cultural worship in a new way.

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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Product Description
• Award winning gospel artist
• Live worship experience recorded on recent tour in Asia
• Lead single How Awesome Is Our God features Yolanda Adams

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