THE OLD-TIMERS : Turn It Off. www.facebook.com/theoldtimers/
Like the other one of this pair of EPs, the music on this EP is classic punk, calling to mind the spirit of ‘76 with the same shouty vocals and powerful guitars (see the review of “Turn It Up!” for more details on the band that I won’t repeat here – aside to say that the songs are all under 2 minutes long). The bass guitar is a bit more to the fore on this EP as are the guitar figures. The feel is if anything better than on “Turn It Up!” and the lyrics more overt (which really suits the genre – “I do not want a crown I just want to be with Jesus” for example) so if you’re only after one of the EPs, I’d go for this one. Two specific points: I loved the false ending on “Televangelist” and the riffing on “Homeless Friends”. Best track: “Televangelist”. 7/10. Paul Ganney.
THE OLD-TIMERS : Turn It Up! www.facebook.com/theoldtimers/
The Old-Timers certainly have an unusual recording technique. Dave (vocals) and Don (guitar and bass) record twelve hours apart in South Africa, and their drummer Phil (also of False Idle) records at the Simpul Studios in Boise, Idaho, in the United States. The music is certainly classic punk, calling to mind the spirit of ‘76 with shouty vocals, powerful guitars (but with a bit of riffing showing that they’re not stuck in the past). Think Sham 69, Buzzcocks, the Damned, X-Ray Spex and you’re not far off. It’s sweaty room-over-a-pub stuff, all jumping up and down together because there’s no room to do anything else (and not safe not to join in). High energy, powerful, guitar-driven punk. It’ll take you more than one listen to work out what the songs are about, but when you do you’ll find a band wanting to glorify God in every song, to reach a desperate world with the Good News of God’s grace and love, and to have a ton of fun doing it. And they don’t just talk it: all proceeds from the sale of “Turn It Off” and “Turn It Up!” will be donated to U-Turn Homeless Ministries in Cape Town, South Africa, which makes this the best “charity single” I’ve heard in a long time. Best track: “No Regrets”. 7/10 Paul Ganney
SPRING HARVEST : Immeasurably More. Elevation : ELE2034D)
Featuring a host of worship leaders, this new collection from Spring Harvest contains songs written over the last couple of years. Ben Cantelon starts things off with a modern dance sound, “The Way”, that lends more than a passing nod to Martin Smith’s “God’s Great Dance Floor.” In similar lively fashion is the next song, “Emmanuel”, written by Nick Herbet, Martin Smith, and Matt Redman. After listening to both of these songs, I wondered if I was going to be listening to an album of dance songs but, thankfully, that was not the case. Sarah Bird sings on “You Make Me Brave”, and I found this song very difficult to imagine being used for collective worship. She sings well enough, but it really came across as a performance song, rather than worship. There is some lovely worship on “God is Able” (Pete James) and “At the Cross” (Cathy Burton), before the rather mournful sounding “King of Compassion” had me reaching for the “off” button on my player. Cantelon rises again with “Can’t Stop Your Love”, while the old maestro Graham Kendrick sings a lovely, gentle version of “Remember Me”. Dare I say, one of his best of recent times. Most of these songs will be new to the listener, but after a few listens, a number of them become quite memorable. 8/10.
2016 certainly looks to be an exciting time for Sheffield’s PHILIPPA HANNA. Firstly, LeonaLewis has
invited her to open her nearly-sold-out tour starting in February. She says; “The timing of all of this is just perfect as we get ready to launch my next single Arrow which is due for release on March 11th.” Secondly, Philippa’s 5th studio project will be released in the UK on the 29th of April, and lastly, she is both sad and excited to announce that she will be moving to Nashville this summer. She goes on to say; “Having gained so much support from the industry in Music City along with the export development grant from UK Trade & Investment it feels like the right time to make the move. We are so grateful for every supporter in the UK and would love to pack in as many acoustic nights, concerts, church visits and social appointments as possible before we leave.” For those wanting to book in farewell dates, please Tom Price on 020 37402202 / firstname.lastname@example.org
HYMNS OF WORSHIP : In Christ Alone. (Elevation : ELE2099D)
Here’s the latest in the Hymns of Worship Series, especially for lovers of “big top” celebrations. Unfortunately, there’s no credits for singers, musicians or events, but this is still a decent collection. Although there’s nothing new about the production of the album, I still found it an enjoyable listen. “In Christ Alone” and “Be Thou My Vision” open proceedings, with a fine female vocalist leading the way. “Amazing Grace” is the next highlight, sung in its original form, and lovely to hear. With just a piano accompaniment, there’s a gentle version of “Praise My soul the King of Heaven”, which really stands out. “The Lord’s My Shepherd” is sung in similar vein, although the congregation joins in, mid-song. There’s a nice selection of well known hymns here, such as “And Can It Be”, “All Creatures of Our God and King”, and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” They’re all well sung and, as I say, very enjoyable. 8/10.
Taizé Reflections: Volume 1 is the new album from a historic monastic community in rural France. Most commonly known for meditative songs like Oh Lord Hear My Prayer and Bless the Lord this album is a deeply spiritual set of 30 compositions of prayer accompanied by contemplative music.
The story of the Taizé community is a fascinating tale spanning 70 years. In the late 1930’s a Swiss theology student decided to buy a small house in unoccupied France. With a heart for evangelizing to the poor Brother Roger’s house became a shelter for war refugees, the poor and the needy of a war torn country.
After the war a few men were inspired by Brother Roger. Coming together at that small house in a rural French village called Taizé they dedicated themselves to living lives that served the world and thus the monastic of Taizé was born. In modern times hundred of people from all over the world make the hallowed pilgrimage to worship with the Taizé community joining with them in prayer and worship.
REVEALING JESUS CULTURE MUSIC & UNITED PURSUIT. (Elevation : ELE2077D)
For those of you who want to know what all the fuss about Jesus Culture Music and United Pursuit is, Elevation have come up with this 12 track compilation, culled from 9 albums. Now, United Pursuit’s music comes from a living room, where a group of believers meet to worship, led by Will Reagan. The sound is very raw and I find the whole sound rather tepid and uninteresting. As for Jesus Culture, the first track comes from Chris McClarney. The song is greeted with a loud roar midway through as Chris turns up the volume on “All Consuming Fire.” Regular readers will know that I’m not the greatest lover of Kim Walker Smith but her version of “Still Believe” comes over as one the most powerful songs on this release. Mid-album, there’s a real purple patch of quality. Firstly, Chris Quilala and Ian McIntosh lead the way on “Light of the World”, while I simply love the delivery of Justin Jarvis on the Killer-esqu “Take Heart.” The latter has some great driving guitars and accompanying keyboards, and it was my favourite song of the collection. Other artists included are Bryan & Katie Torwalt and Andrew Ehrenzeller and it’s a good taster. At a bargain £4.99, you also get a money off voucher from any of the albums featured. 7/10.