STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 865-3336 LABEL: Myrrh 607227 FORMAT: CD Album RELEASE DATE: 2005-01-14 RRP: £4.99
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
Christian music veteran Michael Card gives us his 21st album and with 'Soul Anchor' continues to focus his music on specific books of the Bible. This time it's Hebrews and the songs here collect together his reflections on the themes of that epistle. Joining once more with producer Phil Naish, who has been a constant creative partner on Card's albums since 1988, 'Soul Anchor' is a return to form. Pleasing adult pop sound, strong melodies and the kind of lyrical depth that we've come to expect from one of Christian music's most intelligent practitioners make this a satisfying listening experience. Whether it's the nature of the material, which mixes the eternal truths of God's redemption with the ever-present pain of persecution, Michael's committed vocal performances seem to be infused with a fresh soulfulness. There are plenty of highlights! Let me choose three. The opening duet "A Violent Grace" might sound like an oxymoron (it's also the title of Card's recent book) and sums up some of the divine contradictions that change our lives. It features a pretty cool duet with Out Of The Grey's Christine Dente. The gospel flavoured "Soul Anchor" pounds along with some excellent sax from Kirk Whalen adding to the musical equation. For the early Christians the anchor symbolised their security in Christ in the midst of whatever circumstances they faced and this abandoned gospel tune celebrates that security. Dan Haseltine from Jars joins Michael to duet on "By Faith" which is based on one of the most famous passages in the Bible, Hebrews 11. A simple and yet profound song which, like all the songs collected here, combines strong song writing with a powerful message. 'Soul Anchor' is the best album Card has done in ages!
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