The Kingdom Choir - Stand By Me

Published Saturday 1st December 2018
The Kingdom Choir - Stand By Me
The Kingdom Choir - Stand By Me

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 173792-27664
LABEL: Sony Music

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

Despite not having released anything for 14 years, London-based gospel aggregation the Kingdom Choir have found themselves very much in the public eye with the follow up to their 2004 debut album 'Smile, It's A Brand New Day'. The reason for the troupe's catapult into fame is of course their performance of the Ben E King classic "Stand By Me" at the recent wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle which was seen by a mind-boggling 1.9 billion people around the globe. Naturally, that song kicks things off on the album of the same name but, putting all the hype of the wedding gig to one side, it strangely comes across as a bit perfunctory and lacking in any of the passion that the original King version carries. That aside, the rest of this collection of mostly mainstream songs (containing a general theme of love, hope and inspiration) is carried off in style with the likes of Aretha's "I Say A Little Prayer" and the latter day Dylan nugget "Make You Feel My Love" working especially well whilst numbers like "Fix You" (Coldplay), "Harvest For The World" (Islay Brothers) and "Lovely Day" (Bill Withers) fit nicely into a gospel choir setting on account each song's quasi-spiritual message. Occasionally, things stray into karaoke territory with not enough artistic chances being taken on a facsimile cover of Beyoncé's "Halo" - special mention to lead vocalist Kemi Bramwell who sounds uncannily like Ms Knowles though - but a stirring take on Labi Siffre's anti-apartheid anthem and Cross Rhythms Chart number one "Something Inside So Strong" more than makes up for this. Impressively, almost each track has a different lead singer which showcases the vast talent found within the choir's ranks and also helps to keep everything varied and fresh. With no doubt one eye on the Christmas download market, a refreshingly contemplative reading of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" closes an album that doesn't push the artistic boat out too far but contains something for everyone.

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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Sample Track Listing:
1. Stand By Me [Listen]
2. All Of Me [Listen]
3. I Say A Little Prayer [Listen]
4. Blinded By Your Grace Pt.2 [Listen]
5. Make You Feel My Love [Listen]
6. Something Inside So Strong [Listen]
7. Halo [Listen]
8. Golden [Listen]
9. Lovely Day [Listen]
10. Harvest For The World [Listen]
11. Fix You [Listen]
12. Amazing Grace [Listen]
13. Chases (Witten By The Kingdom Choir) [Listen]
14. You're The Voice [Listen]
15. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing [Listen]

This track data is supplied by the Cross Rhythms CD/DVD review library. Please note that CD tracks may vary according to release region or product version.

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