Posted May 10, 2019
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer
What You Need To Know
It's been a little over a year since Newsboys legends Peter Furler and Phil Joel returned to the Newsboys for what turned out to be a legendary night of music. Now, the culmination of both eras of the Newsboys working together has produced a brand new album featuring both Furler and Tait on vocals.
What It Sounds Like
While both Furler and Tait have their distinct brand of Newsboys quirky flare, both also have a distinct style of pop worship, and it's the latter that gets the overwhelming focus on this album. Luckily for fans, the Newsboys have always been great at crafting an anthemic worship song. Even when it's a familiar and safe tune, they've produced some of the most singable and powerful worship songs of our generation. Lead single "Greatness of Our God" is a great example of everything that works with Newsboys worship, and also the great treat of hearing both Tait and Furler in one track. These two play so well off each other that it lifts songs like this one and "Symphony" to instant classic heights. Musically, I'd have liked them to explore a bit more - but, when both men have some legitimate classics written already, it's hard to fault them for going with what flat out works.
There is a smidgen of old school Newsboys feel to "Only The Son (Yeshua)" in it's guitar riff, hook and chorus. This song is another standout and sure to be a favorite live due to its overwhelming energy.
"Never Setting Sun" is a favorite on the album for its catchy power. "Beautiful Story" brings in a needed reflective tone to balance out the energy. Both songs also feature each singer more or less solo, helping to avoid the oversaturation of the duet's novelty.
Only "Love One Another" really feels like it explores the "fun" side of the Newsboys, even bringing in Tait's former bandmate Kevin Max for vocals. However, what should be an epic track feels a bit underdone and slightly clashes tonally with the anthemic worship. Perhaps another collab featuring all these types of songs is in order?
The Newsboys brand of worship excels at crafting strong imagery into worship. "Never Setting Sun" offers Furler's classic nature imagery to portray the wonder of God, while songs like "Beautiful Story" veer more toward the intimate personal side often found in the Tait era. Each song offers an effective worship experience, and even if new ground isn't exactly broken, there's legitimate quality here that stands above the genre's standard.
For Fans Of
Any era of the Newsboys, for King & Country, dc Talk
"Never Setting Sun"
"The Cross" has it, of course. See the track on the Deluxe version for details.
In all seriousness, fans of either of the Newsboys' wildly successful but distinct eras will find much to love on United. Both Furler and Tait are legends in the business and their voices contain a power rarely matched in today's musical climate. United is landmark release and a stand out worship/pop release of the year - here's hoping there's more to come from Newsboys United.
Buy United from Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.
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