Reviewed by Paul S Ganney
This is, of course, the second full length studio album from Martin Smith, former frontman and driving force behind Delirious? I say "full length" as eight of the 11 tracks were previously released as the mini EPs 'Movement 3' and 'Movement 4'. There's no mistaking who it is, though. That voice. Those lyrics. Those melodies. Those arrangements. It's just a bit more electronic in places, really. Which is fair enough - while so many other bands are trying to sound like Delirious? used to, Smith is busy trying to sound different. He's stayed true to his roots, but moved on a bit. If anything, this CD is closer to Delirous?'s (apologies to the apostrophe police - is there a right way to punctuate that?) early material ("Redemption Day" and "God Is Coming" would have sat very comfortably on 'King Of Fools', for example), that threatened to take over Spring Harvest songbooks in the same way that Graham Kendrick had swept all aside earlier. Martin's voice still drives it all along, though, and he has (wisely) decided against a Kate Bush-style vocal disguise so you could well be listening to lost Delirious? recordings: it's moved on, but not quite as far as 2012 (although "Only Got Eyes" has a vocal chant reminiscent of Bastille - but then I thought that reminiscent of Red Box from the 1980s). Better is the slower "Great Is Your Faithfulness", with its sweeping vocal, majestic chorus and great use of light and shade. There are quite a few slower tracks (such as "Grace" - very atmospheric, but I wasn't sure it really counted as 'Dance Floor' unless this was an end-of-night number) and several that are more personal than church-fillers (no bad thing, but not what you may have expected from the opening songs). It's a good album, with Smith at the top of his game in places, but not world-changing. But then he's done that once already.
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|Martin instinctively calls out for people to become a 'voice' for those who do not have a voice. For Martin Smith, endings aren’t all they seem. In 2009 he came to the closing stages of a two-decade career spent holding the microphone and cheering on the crowds with the genre-defining band Delirious.|
With Dove awards, Grammy nominations and RIAA certified gold selling status behind him, it was an incredible journey. Today, what lies ahead is bold, fresh and exciting.
After the release of his first solo album in April, Martin now returns with another stunning collection of worship. Featuring Sarah Bird and daughter Elle-Anna, and co-writes with Tim Hughes, Reuben Morgan and Matt Redman the songs on Step 02 are rich with biblical context and structure.