Noel Richards - Calling All Nations

Sunday 1st August 1999
Noel Richards - Calling All Nations
Noel Richards - Calling All Nations

RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Kingsway KMCD2165
RELEASE DATE: 1999-05-21
RRP: £4.99

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer

The release of a Noel Richards project is always a moment for celebration. Still pony-tailed a la Francis Rossi, these days Noel is now sporting a rather fetching gotee! Having gathered the masses at Wembley in 1997, his sights are on the Olympic Stadium in Berlin for a bigger Champion Of The World event in the summer of 2001. These are more songs that will help rally believers to the cause. God has gifted Noel Richards with big vision and an ability to write and find songs that seem to celebrate the moment. Following in the footsteps of 'Dangerous People' and 'Warrior', this album again has a big sound but also incorporates some wonderfully subtle moments. The anthemic title cut sets the scene with its crowd noises, singalong chorus and insistent groove but the album isn't all rousing,tub-thumping shoutalongs. (After a few years of this, Noel has plenty of them in his back catalogue!). Instead, the inclusion of a sizeable string section gives the album an added ambience so for example his version of Brian Doerksen's 'Come, Now Is The Time' glides along on a U2esque groove but has an added dimension that makes it an enthralling song. Brian Houston's 'Passion For Jesus' is a compelling, unrelenting for more of Jesus again built on a characteristic Richards groove. Strings again add new texture to 'How Can I Live' which builds from its gentle openings to the rousing refrain 'How can I live without your love? I can already picture the crowds singing along! Another highlight is the electric 'I'm Crying Out', one of the songwriting collaborations between Richards and Wayne Drain and featuring a guest vocal from Wayne. Matt Redman steps up to the mic for a vocal duet on the jangly pop of 'I Believe'. Whilst none of the album is outrageously buoyantly rocky in the way that the previous two studio offerings rocked out, it rolls along insistently with plenty of songs that are destined to be classics. His bluesy take on 'What Would Jesus Have Done' filled with haunting strings and breaking into that huge chorus is evidence that sometimes understating is more powerful than rocking out! 'When I Worship You (Heaven Comes To Me!)' is a classic Noel and Tricia Richards' ballad, simple and intimate. The closing meditation of 'How I Long For You/All I Know' is a downbeat closing to a very special album and leaves the listener fully focussed on the cross. Another winner from Noel Richards who has resisted the temptation to stick to formula and presented an album that is yet another colourful stop on the journey. 'Calling All Nations'? We're listening Noel!

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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