Vineyard Music - Lower Than Angels

Monday 1st December 1997
Vineyard Music - Lower Than Angels
Vineyard Music - Lower Than Angels

STYLE: Ambient/Meditational
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Vineyard Music 8203

Reviewed by Andrew Privett

When reading a review of anything it is important to remember that the reviewer's opinions to a large extent are subjective. We each have our individual tastes, and if something isn't to mine, it doesn't mean that it is without merit. There are lots of exciting and immensely masterful aspects to this album, which I will try to go into later, as well as this album's flaws. Firstly I would like to talk about Larry Hampton (guitars and vocals). This man is vastly talented. Whilst listening to his playing I was, to say the least, impressed. The words imaginative, versatile and superlative came to mind. I was reminded of a long list of contemporary guitarists and bands, and I highly respect each one of these: Brian May, Dominic Miller (Sting), Jeff Beck (especially on Roger Waters' 'Amused To Death' album), David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto, and even some of the so-called Brit bands at times. I would be honored to have Larry as a session guitarist on any album I might record! As to his vocals, I must say that I was less impressed. I'm not saying that Larry has a bad voice: on the contrary; but for a rock band I found it a little too sweet, too nice. I like to hear some pain, some emotion. I guess it works for this album as it is 'Worship', but I assume not all 'Lower Than Angels' will be so. I did find that the vocal lines (not the lyrics) seemed to be rather 'old' CCM. Jaime Eichler has an exquisite voice - she sings on the songs that Larry doesn't, which she wrote. She has a great soulful, folkish voice (Kate Bush, Cyndi Lauper, Maria McKee (Lone Justice), Lisa Stansfield). I would love to hear her singing folk rock in the vein of All About Eve. That would be sheer bliss! I don't want to leave out the other musicians on the album, who were extremely good. The keyboards were a little too far back in the mix for my taste; and I would love to have heard the drummer let go more at the end of "Deliver", with more fills and not necessarily returning to the standard rhythm. All in all a very good album; but I would to see someone harness the individual talents and build something to stand against Pink Floyd, Marillion, etc. I would, however, recommend this album. Highlights include "Alone With You", "Heaven", "Deliver", "Mercy", "Psalm 23", and "Skies" (that's six out of the 10 tracks).

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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