STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 6432-6304 LABEL: ICC ICC655 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £4.99
Reviewed by Phil Thomson
The sleeve announces this as 'Action songs, Bible songs & songs of celebration for kids' - and that's just what you get: an enthusiastic John Hardwick fronting a studio choir of young children, with the band trying to keep up. It is for working with - and so it is worthy and full of truth... and extremely unimaginitive. There is actually no excuse for an album like this. I can find few redeeming features in banging on interminably with jobbing music and overbearing sentiment just because it is going to be put in front of a bunch of trusting kids. Of course the kids will love it. They have no option - yet that is no reason to ignore the richness of the English language, the beauty of the musical instrument, the wonder of God's creation to fire the imagination. Instead we get exhortations to look things up - lyrics constructed out of Bible references - "Look up chapter 32, verse 4/Of Deuteronomy" ("He's A Rock"), every big theme rattled off at a fair pace and some fairly archaic use of adult expression - "Declare it in the North/Declare it in the South" ("Declare It"). Have you come across a young child saying that recently? It was a relief to find "Gentle Hands" with words by Joy Howell - the only lyric not written by John Hardwick himself. John's best here is "The Toybox Song (All Are Welcome)" which is wonderfully allegorical and something any kid would completely understand. Why not more of that quality? Unfortunately, this is a missed opportunity - and a creatively impoverished approach to engaging the hearts and minds of our children.
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