Reviewed by Stephen Adams
Sandtown is a children's choir born out of a needy community of the same name in Baltimore, USA. Their debut CD sports such CCM heavyweights as Michael W Smith and Out of Eden's Lisa Kimmey, and the proceeds from the album go towards helping the Sandtown community. Now onto the music. The order of the day here is definitely urban gospel/poppy R&B complete with funky synth and bass riffs, etc. The producers (who include Gotee staple, Todd Collins) have attempted to, for the most part, produce something that will appeal to Sandtown's peers who will be growing up listening to R&B and hip-hop. As Sandtown are a children's choir, their vocals aren't quite as polished as an adult choir would be, but what they lack in fine-tuning, they make up for with passion. Some of the guests bring that added sparkle such as Lisa Kimmey's voice on "Rescue Me" which is oozing with the classy soul that fans of Out Of Eden will be used to by now and adds a heartfelt quality to this song of worship. The Katinas guest on "Walk With Me", a very up-to-date (if derivative) R&B cut that sports keyboard strings reminiscent of Destiny's Child's "Survivor" and borrowing percussion from The Clipse' "Grindin'". "I Love You Lord" has a innocent beauty which when coupled with guest singer Israel's vocal yields the best song on the album, while the funky "Way You Love Me" reminds me of Kirk Franklin in one of his Parliament-influenced funk outings such as "Stomp" or "Revolution", which is a good thing. However, this album is not without its flaws. One major one being the less than stellar rap efforts of Gotee supremo and dc Talk-er, Toby McKeehan on the track "Part Of Me". I see Sandtown as a more urban American version of groups like the African Children's Choir, but they are well worth a listen to fans of urban gospel and the more commercial side of R&B.
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