In the Hands of God doesn't Go
Posted May 25, 2009
It’s almost inarguable that Peter Furler’s departure from frontman duties of the long-time standing pop/worship group Newsboys was the biggest news of the first half of 2009. And when the year ends it’s possible that we will look back and find it the most significant news of the year. While most devastated fans must be happy to find that former dc Talk member Michael Tait will be filling Furler’s shoes it just won’t sound right when Tait tires to take the Aussie act to songs like “Not Ashamed” and “Where Ever We Go.” However after a few spins of the Furler’s last spotlighted performance on an a Newsboy’s album, In the Hands of God, it might have been a smart decision for Peter to allow the curtain of change to fall.
Although thankfully, it’s not an issue which engulfs the entire album, Furler’s vocals have seen better days. Furler’s gravelly vocals immediately show up on the opening track, “The Way We Roll”, and really hurt the upbeat, but not catchy, rough track. The trend continues for a little ways before settling down (especially in the old school rock song “No Grave” which features rough vocals in the chorus) with songs like the fine small techno influenced, pop title track. However In The Hands of God never finds the equilibrium that their last album GO contained. The modern worship/pop song “Glorious” isn’t spectacular while songs like “My Friend Jesus” and “Dance” blend to well as uneventful pop songs on the short, ten-track album. The quirkily sounding “The Upside” at least manages to stick out and so does the light rock/ballad finale “RSL 1984” which shows that Furler and band still has an inventive streak left in them.
Like many bands who don’t wish to stay complacent and blend in with their pears, bands like the Newsboys look for new ways to express their messages. Not that far ago after the band temporarily took a break from writing pop songs, and simplified their writing style to take a more praise and worship direction, the Newsboy’s revisiting the pop writing style on Go was solid and welcomed. Now instead of keeping the similar vein, the Newsboys sadly add more clichés than usual and also went to over the top on the occasional song. “Lead Me To The Cross”, “The Way We Roll”, “Dance” and “Glorious” all follow a repetitive and simplistic pattern which certainly won’t impress long time fans of “Take Me To Your Leader” and “Breakfast." But it’s not all bad as songs like “This Is Your Life” which goes deeper than it’s chorus to reject self (‘It can’t be repeated when your time is gone… This is your life/Treat yourself right/Treat others right/Live like you know you should.’) and the title track.
If fans were expecting another fun CD like GO or an epic pop/praise and worship album land-marking the departure of a warm face in CCM you can bet that many are disappointed. After a very lackluster performance of a very hyped, In the Hands of God, the change of scene will probably means that good days are ahead of for the now part Australian Group. But as Peter Furler leaves, it’s too bad that the record-making system seemed a little too rushed for an album which should have made him and Newsboy’s fans proud.
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