STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 9861-9453 LABEL: Fair Trade Services 000768294727 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £9.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
It says something about Cross Rhythms and particularly Midshipman Rimmer’s ability to spot potential hits that CR gave editorial space to MercyMe (a review of their ‘The Worship Project’ independent album) before Nashville’s CCM magazine. Now that the whole world and a dog has caught up on the fact that Bart Millard is an exceptional songwriter and an appealing vocalist, it’s going to surprise few Christian music buffs to report this is beautifully crafted pop rock with truly inspiring lyrics. To my ears this is a huge improvement on their ‘Spoken For’ with a crisper and more dynamic production than its US pop chart maker predecessor. Listen to the magnificent string arrangements on the haunting mid tempo “Here With Me” with almost a Coldplay vibe to it. Catch the way the rock guitars burst in on the opener “Where You Lead Me”. In fact throughout the addition of an extra guitarist Barry Groul (Jaci Velasquez, Whitecross) to MercyMe’s line up gives the band new guitar texture and depth. The piece de resistance to the album is of course “Homesick”, where over the billowing violins of the London Symphony Orchestra and a rock solid rhythm, Bart delivers a vocal which deftly avoids the maudlin as it muses on a loved one now in Heaven. It also contains the memorable line in the chorus “In Christ there are no goodbyes.” Another “I Can Only Imagine”-like hit single? I don’t know about that but it’s every bit its creative equal.
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MercyMe took the Christian Music industry by storm with their debut album 'Almost There', selling over 500,000 copies within the first year. Their hit single 'I Can Only Imagine' went on to receive 2 Dove awards and Bart Millard was also nominated for songwriter of the Year. In the UK, the song has been played on Radio 2 by Paul Gambaccini, and was Number 1 on the UCB Europe Chart of the Year for 2003 - voted for by listeners.
Now with additional new band member Barry Graul, MercyMe tender their most complete work to date... 'Undone'. It features 13 brand new worship songs that will focus your heart towards the throne of God while leaving a lasting musical and spiritual impression.
This album is a passionate new sound of worship for the band. 'The best way to describe it is that it's a new progression for us,'; says bassist Nathan Cochran. 'It's a step beyond what we've ever done. We feel like our message and calling are the same. We're still worship leaders; we're just on a different scale.' Says drummer Robby Shaffer, 'This is very different for us as far as music goes. It challenged us, it pushed us and I think it ultimately made us better musicians.' 'Musically, we've grown probably twice what we grew between 'Almost There' and 'Spoken For' ,' says guitarist Mike Scheuchzer. 'And none of us expected it.'