STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 119285-18641 LABEL: VRUKCD20 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2011-09-27 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Ian Hayter
You pretty well know what you're going to get with Vineyard now - well arranged and well produced guitar-led pop with a driving beat and anthemic climaxes. This CD is no exception as the guys and gals at Reading Vineyard, under the expert eyes of producers Tom Bellamy and Jon Courtney, run us through a selection of traditional carols from "The First Nowell" to "Silent Night" (with the Vineyard favourite "Humble King" thrown in for good measure). Most of them start with an atmospheric and stripped down accompaniment under the ethereal voices of the female vocalists, then build to a crescendo of jangling guitars, thumping bass and driving drums. A few power chords are thrown into the general maelstrom (most noticeably on "Gaudete") and there are some fairly obvious prog rock influences at work. It's all good stuff - but the nagging question is 'Why?' The Vineyard musicians are quite capable of putting together some new contemporary Christmas songs and their interpretation of these much-loved traditional songs does the original settings no favours at all. There's a jarring disjunction between the traditional words and melodies and the thundering indie-pop of this re-working. Even "Silent Night" comes in for the arena rock treatment. No doubt it will appeal to those who enjoy Vineyard music more than traditional settings, but with so many other Christmas offerings pouring into the market each year, you have to wonder what the point of this one is.
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A stunning CD for Christmas that offers a fresh approach to classic Christmas favourites and a few lesser known treasures.
Recorded by a host of leading Vineyard UK worship leaders, this is a superior recording for Christmas.