Cultural Fusions| Posted March 09, 2015 The Pitch:
An African Children's Choir singing worship songs in the Dance/Pop style that's currently gaining traction in American worship.
If that pitch sounds like it could either really work or really not work, then we're on the same page. Fortunately, this collection of songs mostly lands on the former.
When opening track "Be Exalted" kicks in, there's an almost spine-tingling complementation between the danceable music and the harmonious African children's choir vocals. "Heirs" is a strong moment that strikes a fine balance between radio-ready music and enchanting choral refrains.
"Hope" is another standout track, utilizing older adult vocals with the choir to help round out the song into a lush anthem. This is actually a recurring strength that helps the album avoid feeling too gimmicky. Blending the children with the older voices creates an intergenerational feel that enhances the listening experience.
In terms of message, the songs are all pleasantly unwavering in their vertical worship approach. Every word is breathed with praise to a Savior who alone is worthy, our hope, has elevated us to be His children, and deserves exaltation and love. While the bulk of the music is pleasant and danceable pop, there is enjoyable variety that helps make the musical experience especially rich. Be it the acoustic guitar-driven title cut or the closing track that carries a much more distinct African musical vibe, they serve as good balances to the anthemic radio-ready highs.
As good as the album as a whole is, and as pleasant it is to listen to, a few of the songs feel a bit underdeveloped. Even the stunning opener "Be Exalted" feels like it is missing parts that could've helped make it feel like a more complete musical endeavor.
Some of the songs feel like they end a bit too abruptly, as if there was supposed to be more but some time limit was reached. At times, the writing feels safe and easy, perhaps a bit too reliant on the strength of the vocals and music to carry the songs. None of this detracts too much from the listening experience, mind you. Perhaps it just highlights areas things can be even better next time.
The choral vocals blend well with the more standard adult pop vocals to create a unique dynamic that complements the worshipful pop sound nicely. From the fast highlights to the reverent softer tunes, the album is definitely one that can satisfy, engage, and enrich.
There is an inescapable feel that the lyrics are riding the coattails of the other elements a little too heavily, but luckily the music and vocals carry what is there enough to make for a solid album. This is definitely an album to check out that you probably weren't even aware was coming.