Maranatha! Music - Alternative Praise: This Body

Monday 1st February 1999
Maranatha! Music - Alternative Praise: This Body
Maranatha! Music - Alternative Praise: This Body

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Maranatha 080688591021

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer

Amongst the general cheesy MOR schlock of the wonderful world of Maranatha worship albums, it is a rare moment when they release an album which sidesteps the company's treadmill of sugary fare but when they do, boy! I get excited. Where once Maranatha daringly led the world in praise, it's only in rare moments like on albums like 'The Body' that you would ever suspect they have the potential to ever be at the front of the queue again. It is produced by Carla White whose last album, the excellent 'Come As You Are', was another uncharacteristic moment of genius in Maranatha's recent history. And what do we have here? An organic and tender album that manages to lift you into intimacy with God whilst keeping its musical feet on the ground. From the moody opener of "Let Your Kingdom Come", it's immediately obvious that this is something special. Carla wrote the title cut and it is a majestic Communion song splendid in its awesome atmosphere and remembrance of Christ's sacrifice. Next time you break bread in church, try playing this in the background!! Elsewhere Tyrone from Skypark contributes a couple of vocals, most notably on the wonderful floating worship of "Lord Of All" guaranteed to lift you. Carla's song "I Want To Walk Beside You" creates a tender moment of calm in the midst of storms and Dan Smith writes and sings "Immanuel" which is an exquisite gentle worship tune. Just beautiful. The album closes with the carefully understated "To No One" leaving the listener totally focussed on Christ. What more could you want from a worship album? Musically, this is outstanding and a million miles from so many bland formulaic soulless "worship" albums that seem to comprise the mainstream of worship recording. When faced with that kind of thing, I'll take alternative praise every time!

Also reviewed in CR52:
The eerie monotone vocals and 80's styled jangling guitars that mark the entrance to this curious project indicate that this is to be a praise album that is hardly conventional (whatever that term is supposed to mean). The noted track is 'Let Your Kingdom Come' that is steeped in the jangling guitars 80's styled pop. But the album swiftly moves to Violets Burning's Jamie Eichler sounding like Madonna over a New Age styled dance beat on 'I Want To Walk Beside You'. This maybe indicates a desire to move the standard format of praise and worship away from the formulaic enterprises of many Maranatha albums. Indeed the musical combination of echoing washes of guitar amidst sparse drumbeats and desolate vocals soothed by strident keyboards marks the tone for pretty much the whole album. Overall there is a pensive, haunting quality to the music that leads one to reflection and meditation upon our Lord and Saviour. This is particularly true on the title song which would make an excellent meditation for a communion service. Skypark fans will be interested to note that Tyrone Wells sings on a couple of songs. It is an ambitious endeavour to market this in the praise and worshi p category and Maranatha are to be congratulated for recording a refreshing album which is genuinely alternative to the majority of praise albums out.
9 squares
Graham Jovanovic

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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