STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 5127-949 LABEL: Sparrow SPD1424 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £2.50
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
First a recap. Having established herself as the queen of Christian rock (and even shown she was no slouch with the blues) Margaret set off for new musical destinations with the 'Soul' album (1993), a delightful pop-gospel set, Now, helped by ace producers Charlie Peacock (seven songs) and Tommy Sims (three) this dazzling album moves Margaret further into world beat influence to produce an album of incisive maturity. Crasser American commentators are already toting Margaret as Christendom's answer to Annie Lennox. But Margaret remains her own creative woman. Listen to the way she weaves effortlessly across the bass and percussion groove of "My Heaven", the way she uses her full armoury of vocal dynamics from those breathy whispers to full throated, head back soars and swoops. Lyrically too Margaret writes with her usually prayerful intimacy, like on the tender ballad "Close Enough To Change" ("Oh for the eyes that can see/Alf the love you have for me.../For the heart that can keep/The memory of your peace/And the truth to remain/Close enough to change.") Then there's the title track, with its incisive expose of the futility of trying to work one's way to heaven ("I swung that hammer/Till my hands got weak/Swung that thing/Till I was crazy with the heat/I built that tower right in my back yard/I worked so long man I tried so hard/Ain't no ladder/Ain't no steps/Ain't no way to earn it/I'm talkin' 'bout grace.") The neo-reggae "Noonday Sun" may be a tad too Ace Of Base for some tastes and those longing for Margaret to return to rock territory will remain disappointed. But for those looking for a Grade A pop album where gentle sensitivity is blended so artfully with in-your-face intensity this soul satisfying album is the one you'll want.
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