Reviewed by James Howard-Smith
This offering in the Kingsway Fuse Box series welds together the 2004 and 2006 releases from the Mandate men's conference in Belfast into a double album. It makes for a more logical, but perhaps less interesting, alternative to the earlier fusion of 'See What A Morning' with 2003's 'Experiencing God' - the former led by Stuart Townend and the latter by Robin Mark. Here, it's the same worship leader on both CDs, offering pretty much the same experience - with about half the songs Townend's own, sitting beside a set of recent devotional gems and a pair of classic hymns. For 'O Church Arise', Townend is without the violinist, Elaine Patience, who joined him on 'See What A Morning', perhaps because she's only needed on the album that contains "In Christ Alone". He's also swapped his pal Kevin Jamieson for Alan Rose on lead guitar, putting four fifths of Phatfish behind him. After the rather choral quality of the first track ('Across The Lands'), it's a small suprise to hear Rose fret-fiddling on Matt Redman's 'Beautiful One', and with this turning up inside the second verse, it feels like a rogue solo; similarly, Nathan Fellingham takes his chance to really beat skins when the other instruments give space to the singing later on in the song. But overall the difference is subtle, both albums being much more about the words than the music, both offering short spontaneous prayer on one track, both an aid to meditating on the greatness of God at home.
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