|Only Just Begun | Posted October 22, 2012
Boston-based worship outfit Andy Needham Band got its start leading worship at a summer youth camp. The group, which has continued to grow, recently released their national debut Lifted High. Produced by Grammy-winning producer Mitch Dane, the record consists of ten songs written or co-written by founder and frontman Andy Needham.
The band starts strong with the earnest "No Love Song." Lyrically effective, Needham communicates his own inadequacy and insufficiency when considered against the grace of God: "There is no love song my heart knows / that's even a shadow / of the One who set my feet on a rock."
The album continues with "Refuge," an upbeat, straight-ahead worship song with a sing-along chorus. Following it is "Awaken Me," a simple prayer for spiritual awakening and for deeper relationship. Then comes "Lifted High," where Needham professes: "May the matchless name of Jesus be the anthem of our lives."
Most memorable is lead single "Open Arms." Stylistically reminiscent of Jack Johnson or Jason Mraz, this bouncy tune praising God's steadfast love is just plain fun. There's only one problem--the song ends too soon!
Another album highlight, the gentle "Pilgrim," is bolstered by emotive violin work that encourages personal worship.
Whereas "Open Arms" was too brief, "The Weight of Your Glory" feels like it goes on too long, as it fails to build on the momentum of the two preceding songs.
The band rounds out the record with "All For You", "Christ Alone", and "Only Just Begun." Of the three, "Christ Alone" is the most musically compelling, with a moody, stripped down acoustic backdrop that allows the lyrics to come to the foreground.
Young worship group Andy Needham Band's introductory effort Lifted High reveals a group that is sincere in their desire to glorify and magnify the name of Jesus. While the record will not make huge waves, songs like "Open Arms" and "No Love Song" are strong enough to gain the band radio play and plenty of downloads. "Pilgrim" is also a stand-out track worthy of repeated listens. Overall, though the record does not stun, it will serve as a good base for the band to build upon.
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