STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 12768-2240 LABEL: Fair Trade Services 30402 FORMAT: CD Album RELEASE DATE: 2005-03-01 RRP: £4.99
Reviewed by Stuart Blackburn
Kara Williamson has a lifelong CCM pedigree, having sung and recorded with her family as well as singing and touring with Michael W Smith and other industry glitterati. This follow up to her 2002 solo debut ('Kara') yields an adult contemporary sound with much to commend it. The poppy opener "Bring It On" sets out with edgy, sometimes breathless vocals but the real fun begins as the crunching rock riff kicks in on the chorus. Track two brings a change of tempo but continues in similar vein. Change again as "More Than Enough" follows with a mid-tempo 6/8 and the introduction of dreaded strings. The album's descent into MOR concludes with the hymnic "O Wounded King" which is not a weak track but isn't entirely at home in its heavier environment. Much of the rest of what follows is interesting, well written pop/rock with reference to a number of styles including the Queen-esque "Everything I Need You Are" and more than a nod to Switchfoot's "I Dare You To Move" on "You Are The One." This track apparently was written for Kara's hubby Charley, though you can sing it to God if you like. Somewhat as an afterthought, a comfortable cover of Michael W Smith's "Never Been Unloved" concludes the proceedings. A square is lost due to the miserable cover photograph and chintzy artwork. It certainly doesn't communicate how good this is. Notwithstanding, 'Undisguised' puts Kara's credibility as a solo artist well beyond doubt.
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'Undisguised' is a mix of modern pop/rock sound and worship-lyrics that point to God as the creator and sustainer of life. The album's theme refers to Kara's perfectionism and our need to shed shallow ideals, admit our flaws and find both redemption and purpose in the Lord. Especially poignant is 'Dear Performer',' 'Kara's letter to the people-pleaser inside of her as she comes to fully embrace God's unconditional grace and acceptance.
Also notable is the flowing 'O Wounded King' that is written like a modern hymn, based on a poem composed by her mother and depicts the graphic suffering of the crucifixion. You don't want to miss this worshipful and creative project.