Reviewed by Paddy Hudspith
Their first release since 1995's 'Inside' which saw While Heart head for the mainstream, it would appear unsuccessfully. 'Redemption' presents the band as a trio for the first time; songwriting founder members Mark Gersmehl (keyboards, vocals) and Billy Smiley (guitars, and long time vocalist Rick Florian are joined by session musicians on an album which successfully melds together two traditions of White Heart's distinctive sound, capturing the best of their Tales Of Wonder' era pop rock and developing the latter day acoustic flavourings and rawer guitar workouts. Gersmehl and Smiley are back in full production control, having learned some lessons from Ken Scott who oversaw 'lnside"s simpler, punchier direction. Don't be fooled by the boys' radical image change, either -long hair is out. crew cuts and beards are in - but this is no desperate plot to grab a few Jars Of Clay/Third Day fans; -Redemption' is classic White Heart and their best release for years. "Love Is Everything" is an instant delight for those of us who are still suckers for a gently insistent sing-along chorus and deserves wide exposure. "Honestly" (not a cover version of the old Stryper ballad!) comes from the same mould, whilst the warmth and humility of -The Vine" and "Fall On Me" are captivating, the latter being simply the best song about Holy Spirit renewal, whether consciously "worship" by design or otherwise, that I have yet heard. The guys haven't forgotten how to rock out. Either; there's nothing here to match the classic "Independence Day" but "Steel And Stone". "Man Overboard" and authentic closer "Jesus" will sufficiently annoy the neighbours given enough volume! While Hear) have weathered a recent storm of indecision over the future of the band, and Redemption' is a timely reminder of the musical excellence and continued relevance of these long-serving pioneers of Christian rock. Welcome back.
Also reviewed in CR46
Classic AOR band of the '80s, White Heart have now trimmed down to a trio and produce an album very akin to their previous release ('Inside'). The best way I could describe this album is "moody and atmospheric roots rock". Occasionally traces of the melodic rock of 'Highlands' era shines through, but far too infrequently for this reviewer's time but these last two releases have left me disillusioned. I guess they are trying to alter their style to reflect the times more (somewhere between a Jars Of Clay and Third Day), but fans of classic White Heart will not like this.
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