A Holiday Sampler| Posted December 21, 2017
At the beginning of December, Australia-based worship mainstays Planetshakers released their first-ever seasonal effort: Christmas, Volume 1. The four-song EP is a mix of pop and R&B-infused renditions of three Christmas classics, along with a new original song.
Planetshakers lead worship for the renowned church with the same name. Formed in 1997, the hard-working band has released over 30 albums so far, not to mention touring the U.S., the United Kingdom, Europe, South Africa, Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand every year. The group's vision is to "see people encounter God, be transformed by His presence and empowered to make a difference in the world." The band stays true to this mantra on Christmas, Volume 1.
"Deck the Halls" kicks off the set. The song is a fun listen, though at the halfway mark it builds into an electronic arrangement that feels out-of-control. The EP rebounds with "Joy to the World." For this piece, Planetshakers use a Hillsong United and Boney M fusion sound. The music keeps the listener engaged throughout the entire piece--there's not a dull moment.
Next up is "Silent Night." This timeless carol is my personal favorite, so any band who covers it faces a tough grade. It must be heartfelt and reverent, with a fresh sound that stays close to the original. Did the Planetshakers pass the test? They certainly did. The band turned the carol into a duet with an R&B arrangement. I had the song on repeat.
Planetshakers close the set with their own original song, "It's Christmas." The piece is worth a listen at least once.
Christmas, Volume 1 has its own personality. This is key for a holiday collection. The EP proves that the Planetshakers has established its own sound, and they also aren't afraid of using other styles to complement their own. This is another bonus. "Deck the Halls" and "It's Christmas" do come up a little short; the electronic arrangement in "Deck the Halls" pushes the listener away instead of pulling them in, and while "It's Christmas" gives the listener a reason to move his or her body, there isn't much diversity. The song has no repeatability. Overall however, I guarantee that this won't be the last Christmas effort from the Planetshakers. The band is here to stay.
The Bottom Line: The Planetshakers' first Christmas EP is a holiday sampler of sounds. "Joy to the World" and "Silent Night" in particular engage the listeners with their vocals and music, evoking emotion and holiday cheer.
Song to Download Now:
"Silent Night" (Get it on iTunes here.)