Reviewed by Paul Ewbank
As followers of modern worship will know by now, United Pursut is a worship collective who began praising God together in an old renovated warehouse in Knoxville, Tennessee and it's this venue which serves as the location for this latest live album. Their folksy, gently flowing music reflects this home-grown, communal attitude; this is authentic, heartfelt worship that sounds fully lived in. The album is at its best when the group's gospel influence takes centre stage, like in the glorious multi-part harmonies on opening track "Head To The Heart" or the fantastic groove that appears out of nowhere halfway through "Since Your Love", both of which will have you clapping and swaying along. The remaining tracks revolve around gorgeous melodies, lush acoustic instrumentation and simple, declarative lyrics. Some of the songs meander on for too long- "Never Going Back" boasts a strong, confident performance from vocalist Brock Human, but there's absolutely no need for it to drag on for nine minutes. "Seasons Change" is more successful, managing to remain utterly beautiful throughout despite repeating the same few lines for most of its run time. The group's many vocalists all acquit themselves well and special mention needs to go to cellist Yoosung Lee for providing some truly poignant melodies and giving the music a warm, organic feel. United Pursuit could still benefit from a bit more variety musically and depth lyrically, but in the end 'Simple Gospel' is aptly named - it successfully invites you strip away all the distractions and complications in life and focus on the simple, wonderful truth of Jesus' love.
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