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Solid Addition To The Worship Genre
on October 26, 2009
I became a fan of Kutless back when Sea of Faces came out back in 2004. Their rock sound was a welcomed find for me as I discovered the world of Christian rock. In 2005, they released Strong Tower, a worship album that combined a did a great job combining a rock sound with some familiar and new worship tunes. To this day, the song "Strong Tower" remains one of my favorite worship songs.
After a couple less-than-overwhelming rock releases the past few years, the guys have once again returned to the worship genre with the release of It Is Well: A Worship Album. While the album doesn't always hit on all cylinders, the band's take on some traditional and well-known songs, as well as a few of their originals, combine to make this a very solid addition to the worship genre. I really think these guys do worship better than straight-up rock, actually.
The album opens with the title track, using a recording of a person walking into a church where the choir is singing the song to transition from the traditional to the modern. It works well, and when Jon Micah Sumrall launches into the chorus (with the melody changed ever so slightly), it sounds amazing. Other familiar songs that work well here include "Hungry," "Remember Me," "God of Wonders," "Give Us Clean Hands," and "Redeemer," which uses part of the hymn "There Is A Redeemer" extremely well (although I wish it was much longer and repeated the verse structure more than once).
I know what you're thinking: Do we really need another version of "God of Wonders?" That was my first thought, but the band is really able to make it their own for the most part. Instead of reminding me of earlier versions, it just reminded me why I enjoyed the song so much in the first place.
The original songs weren't really anything all that special. Pretty much your typical worship fare. The current single, "What Faith Can Do," explores the power of faith and what God is able to accomplish through it, and sounds made for K-LOVE radio. "Taken By Love" is another solid tune, and "You Save Me" turns up the rock sound more than most on this album. I don't think they were able to come up with a "Strong Tower" on this album, however.
This album really made me wish that Kutless would just do an album of all traditional hymns and update them with a Kutless style. "Redeemer" and "It Is Well" are easily the two best songs on the album ("Remember Me" is close, though). That verse structure on "Redeemer," with it's fantastic guitar riff accompanying the familiar tune, built perfectly into the chorus, forcing me into praise of God. Hearing an old hymn given that treatment was fantastic, and I would love to hear more of that from Kutless if they ever choose to do another worship album (and if it's done that way, I'll pre-order it now).
This album, although not perfect, does a great job of combining the worship style with Kutless' familiar rock sound and is a worthy addition to the genre.