STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 117732-18403 LABEL: Essential 083061093129 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2011-09-20 RRP: £9.99
Reviewed by Martin I Smith
Canada's Matt Maher, a guy whose songs have been recorded by the likes of Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman, has steadily crept into the limelight as an internationally recognised worship leader. A previous Cross Rhythms reviewer has already struck up a Casting Crowns comparison, and indeed Maher sounds uncannily like Mark Hall. 'The Love In Between', Maher's third album, doesn't do anything to make the link less tempting. When he sings "I don't wanna sing you praises, just to hear them on the radio/I don't wanna stand for justice, if I'm not among the poor" on "Heaven Help Me", the similar exploration of hypocrisy found on Crowns' hit "If We Are The Body" inescapably comes to mind. Not that Maher is consciously copying, it's just that there's only so many places you can go with this kind of radio friendly, soft-rock. In fact, the silver-haired songsmith is pretty good at the genre - "My Only Love" is a top ballad and "Everything And Nothing" boasts an effective U2-esque climax - but there's nothing here that'll hush modern worship's critics. If you're not much enamoured by their complaints anyway, you'll do no wrong by picking this up - Maher is a skilled contributor to the genre (or style, or movement - whatever it is!).
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'The Love In Between', Matt Maher’s third studio project, demonstrates the evolution of an inspired artist.
This Canadian mainstay is well known for moving worship anthems including 'Your Grace Is Enough', 'As It Is In Heaven', 'Hold Us Together' and 'Christ Is Risen'.
While holding strong to his calling as a musical missionary, 'The Love In Between' unveils a side of this new husband and father that delves more deeply into the ideas of suffering, grace, redemption and hope.
These concepts are neatly swaddled in a new folk-Americana or, in Matt’s words, a “blue collar Gospel” sound which fuses the best elements of this accomplished musician drawing from years on the road as a touring artist and worship leader.
Matt is a man with striking conviction and the ability to relate that passion and conviction to listeners ranging from the studied theologian to the layperson. He has delivered an album that takes church from within the four walls to the handshake between two people.
'The Love In Between' defines Matt as a singer, songwriter and worship leader. It is encouraging, hopeful and authentic - the articulation of who Matt is as a man, husband, father, brother and follower.