STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 1746-2176 LABEL: ICC ICCD42530 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
Golly! With his third release Simon Goodall finally hits paydirt with an edgy pop album that deserves your attention. He's always going to be haunted with the Cliff soundalike thing but here it's only on the slower songs whilst when Simon lets his hair down on the brooding poppier stuff, he proves to be an excellent vocalist and finally he's made the album to show off his talents. His last album was the acoustic 'Plugged In And Connected' and the poignant "Just A Memory" on this new album is the only stripped down acoustic song in this set and stands as an excellent counterpoint to the rest of the material. Not sure whether 'Stay With Me' is really a "worship" album although it does contain worship material, I've been enjoying it as a straight forward pop album. Obviously the inclusion of a cool cover version of Matt Redman's "Now To Live The Life" and Simon's own intimate worship song "Deep Within My Heart" push this set in a more worshippy direction. His choice of cover versions is brave! Who would dare to try and cover two of the best known Christian songs on both sides of the Atlantic? Avalon originally sang "Testify To Love" and won awards in the USA (as did the writers of the song, including Paul Field) and Simon's version creates plenty of atmosphere and there's some fine backing vocal harmonies thrown in for good measure! He's fearless in deciding to cover "Deeper" especially when the original Delirious? rendition is so well loved. Could be a recipe for disaster? Yep! But Goodall acquits himself very well creating a wall of sound and energy which matches the original. D:fans will hate it because let's face it, it's sacrilege isn't it? But hey! It's a strong cover version! My other faves also include the title cut which is a strong slab of purepop and the Celtic influenced "All I Can Say" where I note the finger of Eden's Bridge supremo Richard Lacy and the remake of "Your Love" is cool too. Originally Ikon's Paul Cooper produced a dance version for Simon's debut album but here Simon reworks it into an understated atmospheric pop masterpiece. Overall this is one of the best British Christian pop albums I've heard in ages and it's got enough kick to make an impact Stateside too.
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