Reviewed by Matt Crossman
A Cheltenham-based singer/songwriter's first foray into the recording world, 'Innermost', showcasing five tracks recorded and released as part of fund raising effort for Elim world missions (it's for charity , kids), has a fairly familiar feel to it from the out. The collection of songs as a whole is pleasant enough, but rather underwhelming, never quite reaching the heights it sometimes promises. There are definite moments of excitement - not least the bridge to "Heart" which conveys a refreshing honesty and fresh lyrical expression, but too often the songs fail to work as a whole animal. That said, Joel has recruited a talented set of musicians and employed some excellent technical skills - as a demo CD, this is of a good standard musically, as the lead solo on "Where Could I Go" shows. However, Joel's delivery is somewhat strained and breathy; the passion comes through rarely, but must often fight with an apparent acquired vibrato at the strangest times, letting down the pleasing arrangements. His potential as a songwriter is certainly discoverable in this CD, though a lot more work could and should be done if he is to rise above the plethora of "white males with guitars" currently inhabiting planet CCM.
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