Album Review – Seven Stars (Chris Haines)

My good friend Chris Haines released his first album But God back in 2011, and I you had a chance to hear it, you’ll be pleased to hear that the eagerly anticipated follow-on album was released earlier this year.

In Seven Stars, Chris takes his considerable talent as a singer, songwriter and musician, and treats us to another collection of thoughtful and deep songs, all beautifully arranged.

The album kicks off with the upbeat yet intimate song of worship More of You, and is followed by Face of Flame which reflects on the theme of the glory of God.

The next track, Nothing can Separate is probably the most up-beat on the album, with a catchy tune rejoicing in the truth of Rom 8:38. It’s followed by gentle, almost lullaby-like prayer of blessing, Watching over You.

Augustine’s Song is lyrically one of the richest songs on the album, drawing from the thought of Augustine, backed by lovely guitar work. Lost and Broken showcases Chris’ talent for layered harmonies, and Agape is a intimate love song.

If I had to pick a favourite from the album, it would probably be one of the final three tracks. No Treasure features more of Chris’ signature use of doubled vocals and layerered harmonies, beginning as a melancholic prayer of surrender, before slowly building into an majestic orchestral climax. Strangers has a simple yet beautiful melody, and like so many others on this album, starts gently before gradually building into a crescendo, before stripping it right back down again.

The final, and title track Seven Stars, draws from the imagery of revelation, and builds a powerful sense of anticipation of Christ’s second coming.

Overall, I would say that this is another top album from Chris, with the quality of arrangements particularly impressive. They move effortlessly between waves of peacefulness and intensity, making the listening experience both relaxing and inspiring. Why not treat yourself or a friend to a copy for Christmas?

Christmas Albums 2011

It has been too long since I posted anything on this blog, and I do have a few posts brewing, but I will break my silence with a quick roundup of Christmas albums. I last did some reviews of Christmas albums back in November 2009, and to be honest not much new has come out. Here’s a few of my favourites though:

SojournA Child is Born
The latest Christmas album from Sojourn music, whose albums I always enjoy. I’ve not had a chance to listen to this one too much yet as it only came out today, but you can try before you buy at their bandcamp page. My only disappointment is that they felt the need to make this the ten millionth Christmas album to include yet another cover of O Come O Come Emmanuel. But I am pleased to see a few of their own compositions included, alongside their own quirky style giving the traditional carols a fresh flavour. A Voice is Sounding is a nice adaption of a fourth century hymn, and I did enjoy their blues version of Go Tell it on the Mountain.
Rating: ★★★★☆
SojournAdvent Songs
I know I mentioned this one last time, but it is worth repeating, as this remains one of my favourite Christmas albums of all time, also from Sojourn. It does feature a couple of traditional carols, but I like the fact that most are their own compositions. My favourite track is Amen, Amen, and they have produced a stirring transformation of What Child is This. Click the album cover for an Amazon link, or you can listen to the whole thing online at bandcamp. Yes, it too includes O Come O Come Immanuel, although their arrangement is one of my favourites so I will let them off.
Rating: ★★★★½
Bifrost ArtsSalvation is Created
The album starts off with a moody orchestral version of, you guessed it, O Come O Come Emmanuel. Nevertheless this is no ordinary Christmas album, with some really nice arrangements in a gentle folk style reminiscent in places of Sufjan Stevens, whilst others are more orchestral. Worth checking out for something different from the standard Christmas album fare.
Rating: ★★★★½
Vince Guaraldi TrioA Charlie Brown Christmas
Not a Christian themed album, and not a new release, but this goes down in my book as a real classic, featuring the delightful jazz piano of Vince Guaraldi. My favourite tracks are O Tannenbaum and Greensleeves. My Drum is cute when you first hear it, but becomes a little annoying after a few listens.
Rating: ★★★★☆
David Crowder BandOh For Joy
After really enjoying their Illuminate album, I haven’t found the David Crowder Band’s later material to be too appealing. But I was interested to how what the unique David Crowder style would work with Carols. The results are mixed, and to be honest I was disappointed that there seem to be no new songs. A bluegrass version of Angels we have heard on high doesn’t quite do it for me. And guess what, it features O Come O Come Emmanuel and O Holy Night.
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Phil WickhamSongs For Christmas
Phil Wickham is one of my favourite Christian artists, so a Christmas album from him is always welcome. This one is available for a bargain £3.99 on, and mostly features covers of traditional carols, but played in his style. This works particularly well for The First Noel. And yes, like everyone else, he has covers of O Come, O Come Emmanuel and O Holy Night. I could have done without Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas but overall this is a nice Christmas offering from Phil Wickham.
Rating: ★★★½☆

One I would steer clear of is Best Christmas Carols Album in the World … Ever. With a title like that you can be sure that it isn’t. Do let me know in the comments any good Christmas albums I have missed.

Album Review–But God (Chris Haines)

This is an album I have been anticipating for a long time, the first solo album from my good friend Chris Haines, a man gifted with the rare combination of being a great musician, singer, song-writer and theologian. Whilst Chris is also a worship leader and has written a number of excellent congregational songs, this is not your typical “me too” worship leader album in the style of Tim Hughes. Instead, I would describe this as a set of theological reflections on the gospel.

The opener and title track, “But God”, brings together ideas from Romans, Ephesians, and the parable of the prodigal son to describe the transformation that has taken place in our salvation. The chorus “You’re so rich in mercy” is a memorable one, and has stuck in my head the past week.

Track two, Glorious, has become a congregational favourite at King’s Community Church, and is one of my favourites on the album, a worship song focusing on the mystery of the cross. This is followed by Epignosis, probably the most beautiful melody on offer, an intimate worship song with some well crafted lyrics from Chris & co-writer Neil Cornish.

The mood shifts slightly for Troubled, a nice adaptation of Ira Sankey’s hymn “Able to deliver”. Track five is Amazed, and the first of two tracks that previously appeared on the King’s Community Church worship album “Magnify”. Amazed is probably the most successful congregational worship song Chris has written, but here he presents it in a fresh way, reimagining the harmony for the verse.

Track six is Search me, which was for me the best song on the Magnify album, featuring a great guitar solo. This time, Chris opts for a slightly gentler version of this lovely adaptation of Psalm 139, sadly lacking the solo, although the new arrangement fits well with the restrained mood of this album. Always good features rather melancholic sounding verses, before building to an uplifting chorus. God who sees is a gentle song, with a simple yet beautiful melody.

The final two tracks are also co-written with Neil Cornish, and feature some of the most interesting and creative lyrics of the album. The garden returns again to the theme of “but God”, exploring the gospel as a reverse of Adam & Eve’s expulsion from the garden of Eden. From my window is based on the warning of Proverbs 7 against the seductive charms of the adulterous woman. At first glance, this may seem a slightly strange way to end an album themed on the gospel, so it is fitting that the song finishes on a note of grace.

Though this is an independent release. the quality of musicianship, recording and production is very high throughout. The quality of Chris’ guitar playing shines through, and the subtle vocal harmonies add depth to the production. But this album offers a lot more than just a nice sound. With lyrics rich in grace and hope, listening is an edifying and uplifting experience.

Make sure you visit the But God album website allowing you to preview the tracks, peruse the lyrics and order your own physical or digital download copy. I am told that it will soon be available on iTunes and am already looking forward to see what Chris comes up with next.

The Eutychus Song

Liam Thatcher recently posted a poem on his blog entitled “Ode to Eutychus”. I liked it so much that I began experimenting to see if I could put a tune to it. Inspiration struck and before long I found myself writing a chorus for it, which is almost a song in its own right.

Liam’s original poem contains some long words, so a dictionary may be needed (see his post for the glossary):

Through the night St Paul orated.
Eutychus, he hibernated.
Thus he got defenestrated,
Hit the ground; absquatulated!

All the crowd vociferated.
Paul felt quite incriminated.
Earnestly he supplicated,
’til he was reanimated

And here’s the extended chorus I have added:

Oh Eutychus, how could you do this to us?
While Paul was preaching through the night
You gave us such a fright

Oh Eutychus, were you seeking for attention,
were you trying to get a mention
in the book of Acts

Oh Eutychus, why did you interrupt our training
Just as Paul began explaining
Why women should wear hats

Oh Eutychus, it was anything but boring
but still you started snoring
And then we heard a splat

Oh Eutychus, that was such a nasty fall
And I’m so grateful to St Paul
That you lived to tell the tale

Oh Eutychus, I’m so glad that you’re not dead,
I really am so sorry,
I only meant to wake you
I didn’t mean to push you
I hope that you’ll forgive me
Eutychus, O Eutychus

Sadly I don’t have the time to make a proper recording of it, but here’s a quick and somewhat ropey rendition in front of my webcam for your entertainment:

Spotify Albums of the Month – Jan 2010

Better late than never, here’s some of the albums I listened to on Spotify in January.

Soul Survivor & Momentum 2009 – Not Ashamed (Listen on Spotify)

For the nostalgic amongst us, a live worship album is a great way to remember a conference you have been to. They can also serve as a good source of new songs. But if you weren’t at the conference and you already know all the songs, then these albums have little to offer, especially when the arrangements of the songs differ very little from the “official” versions of the songs. Having said that, the quality of musicianship and recording is high, so there is plenty to enjoy here with some good live versions of songs written by Ben Cantelon, Phil Wickham, and Tim Hughes. It features Hosanna, and How He loves, both tracks that have showed up all over the place in recent years. 2 CDs (or 1 and a half since the second CD only features half a dozen tracks) represents good value, but only if you don’t already have all the songs on other albums. It wasn’t until well into the second disk that I heard my first unfamiliar songs – Great is the Lord and King of Wonders

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brenton Brown – Adoration (Listen on Spotify)

Somehow the titles on Spotify are completely muddled up on this album except for two tracks. The correct titles are as follows:

  1. A Thousand Stars
  2. All who are thirsty
  3. Adoration
  4. Because of your love (correct)
  5. Amazing God
  6. Come let us return (correct)
  7. Holy
  8. Our God Saves
  9. We Need You
  10. Send Your Rain
  11. Wonderful

It’s well produced, and features a few old favourites All Who are Thirsty and Holy. Whilst there are no killer tracks, he clearly has the knack for writing congregational songs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if songs such as We Need You and Wonderful start doing the rounds of churches.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Casting Crowns – Until the Whole World Hears (Listen on Spotify)

Despite their popularity, I’ve never really got into Casting Crowns. Their latest album come out in November. As usual what they bring to the table is forthright lyrics rather than any musical innovation. The songs include themes of discipleship, witness, and repentance. The album also features several modernisations of hymns.

Rating: ★★★½☆
Newday 2009 – No Shout too Loud (Listen on Spotify)

This is (with the exception of a repackaged mid 90s Stoneleigh album King of Love), the first newfrontiers live worship album to feature on Spotify. Newday is a youth event and worship was led by Phatfish and Simon Brading, with Matt Redman making a guest appearance. Phatfish introduced a number of songs from their new In Jesus album, but I can’t say I’m overly keen on the blues direction they seem to be going in. Simon Brading also introduced some new songs, the best of them being The Third Day. Matt Redman’s new You Alone Can Rescue is the album highlight for me.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Spotify Albums of the Month – Dec 2009

OK, I’ve got really behind with these, and my album reviews probably will be a lot less frequent now that Spotify no longer release spreadsheets of all the new albums available. Because of the Christmas special I did, these are actually albums that appeared back in November (December and January have been extremely quiet for CCM releases anyway).

Phil Wickham – Heaven & Earth (Listen on Spotify)

Phil Wickham has firmly established himself as one of my favourite artists over recent years, so I was eagerly anticipating this new release, and it doesn’t disappoint. His style has evolved slightly, with more electronic elements present in the arrangement of the songs. This one features Because of Your Love which previously appeared on his free Singalong album. My favourite is probably the cheerful and catchy The Time is Now.

Rating: ★★★★½

Sara Groves – Fireflies and Songs (Listen on Spotify)

Christianity Today consider this to be the best album of 2009. It has a nice mellow easy-listening vibe throughout (if slightly melancholic in places). One disadvantage of checking out new albums on Spotify is that you don’t have the lyrics to hand, meaning that the songs take several listens before you get a proper grasp of the stories they tell. I’m not sure it beats Tell Me What You Know, but all the songs on the album are strong with the exception of the irritating country track Setting up the pins. Different Kinds of Happy and Joy is in our Hearts are probably my favourites.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Keith & Kristyn Getty – Awaken the Dawn (Listen on Spotify)
This new album from the Gettys starts of nicely with an atmospheric Celtic Hear O Israel, reminiscent of Iona. It seems that most tracks on the album are co-written with Stuart Townend, a writing partnership that works remarkably well at producing a steady stream of theologically rich hymns with strong melodies. Kristyn Getty is the vocalist, and the arrangements are stirring without being overdone (although it does get a little syruppy in places). Nevertheless I’ve enjoyed this album a lot more than I thought I would. It would be great to see a number of these hymns working their way into the worship of many local churches.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Delirious? – History Makers: Greatest Hits (Listen on Spotify)

Given that several live albums also feature the same tracks, its hard to see what this compilation has to offer except for those who don’t already own the albums featuring these hits. Having said that, it is a fair reflection of their greatest hits, with a generous helping of tracks from their earlier material. I enjoyed re-listening to classic songs such as History Maker, Majesty and Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble.

Rating: ★★★½☆

And in the famous for one song category, check out solo albums from Marie Barnett (writer of Breathe) Heaven Came Down, and Laura Story’s (writer of Indescribable) Great God Who Saves.

Spotify Albums of the Month – Nov 2009

It’s time for a bumper Christmas special. The good news is that there so much Christmas music on Spotify that you could play carols non-stop through the 12 days of Christmas without having to hear the same album twice. The bad news is that most of it’s not worth listening to. Most albums seem to include at least a few of the following:

  • Tired, overwrought regurgitations of the same old carols, barely indistinguishable from every other album also featuring O Holy Night and O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
  • Intolerably twee songs about Santa, snow and stockings
  • Woeful attempts at modernising carols by performing them in heavy metal, polka, bluegrass, hip hop, and every other genre utterly unsuited to Christmas music.

But after wading through sackfuls of seasonal offerings, here’s my guide to the mountains of Christmas music on Spotify…

Chris Tomlin – Glory in the Highest (2009) (Listen on Spotify)

This recent release features a mix of traditional and modern songs, with a live worship feel. Angels We Have Heard on High works really well. He offers a new take on the magnificat with My Soul Magnifies the Lord. He sometimes breathes new life into carols with an alternative chorus or verse melody. After an upbeat start, Glory in the Highest marks the start of some more reflective songs, including a few guest appearances from other worship leaders. The closing track, Born That We May Have Life sounds like belongs in a Christmas musical production. Christianity Today complained that they didn’t like the live worship style, but I thought it made a nice change from most other Christmas albums.

Rating: ★★★★½

Casting Crowns – Peace on Earth (2008) (Listen on Spotify)

Mostly traditional carols, nicely performed of course, but that isn’t enough to make this one stand out from the crowd, despite getting off to a good start with I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. While You Were Sleeping is the most interesting on offer, starting off as a reworking of O Little Town of Bethlehem, before bringing in a prophetic edge (spoiled by dispensational left-behind overtones). The album closes with a instrumental piano & strings rendition of the beautifully mournful O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Jars of Clay – Christmas Songs (2007) (Listen on Spotify)

Having enjoyed several of their other albums, I was a little disappointed to see that they succumb to seasonal sentimentality with tracks like Wonderful Christmastime. Musically though, they keep things a bit more interesting than most, with the traditional carols they choose getting major overhauls. My favourite is Love Came Down At Christmas.

Rating: ★★★½☆
Sara Groves – O Holy Night (2008) (Listen on Spotify)

Another one that lets a bit of sentimental mush sneak in, including a small child reading the Christmas story in a cute voice. Groves offers some new tunes to It Came Upon a Midnight Clear and O Holy Night. Apart from the irritating Toy Packaging, this was a pleasant listen.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Michael W. Smith – The Ultimate Christmas Collection (2009) (Listen on Spotify)

This three disk special provides plenty of material to provide a soothing backing track to a leisurely Christmas dinner. It sounds like a Christmas movie soundtrack, with piano and plenty of full-on orchestral crescendos. We are spared no cliché, including choirs of children and plenty of jingling bells. These are rounded off with a generous helping of musical interludes and orchestral renditions. If Disney were to make a “Magic of Christmas” album, this is what it would sound like.

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Sufjan Stevens – Songs for Christmas (Listen on Spotify)

A collection of five short albums, featuring mostly traditional songs, but played in Stevens’ distinctively folksy style. We are treated to several short instrumental extracts, as well as full length songs. There is a good number of classic carols and even hymns (such as Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing), in addition to a selection of more light-hearted Christmas tunes such as Get Behind Me Santa. This collection would benefit from being pruned down a little, especially as a number of songs feature twice across the five disks.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Graham Kendrick – The Gift (1988) (Listen on Spotify)

Overlooking for a moment how dated this sounds, it is apparent that this is a landmark production from one of the UK’s most respected song-smiths. Rather than fobbing us off with an album full of traditional carols, Kendrick has crafted almost 20 fresh Christmas songs. OK, some of them (actually, come to think of it, most of them), are really cheesy in a “Christmasy” kind of way. But what this album offers is an escape from the overly familiar lyrics of the traditional carols, allowing for some genuinely fresh light to be shed on the wonder of the incarnation.

Some highlights include a brief extract from his superb hymn The Servant King (a song which sadly seems to have fallen into disuse). Good News while being a little on the jolly side for modern tastes, deserved to have been sung by more churches. God With Us, is my favourite track, with great lyrics exploring the way Christ identified with the human race through his incarnation.

Spotify’s version of the album is bundled with another of Kendrick’s Christmas albums, “Rumours of Angels” from 1994. It would be great to see some other CCM artists attempt similar projects, rather than churning out yet more covers of carols. Maybe Stuart Townend will oblige?

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Amy Grant – A Christmas Album (1983) (Listen on Spotify)

To my mind, Amy Grant is the queen of Christmas albums, having produced a series of successful seasonal releases over her illustrious career. Somehow, where others fail, she manages to pull off the Santa, sleighbells and snow lyrics without ending up in the kitsch category (or maybe I’m biased because it brings back happy memories of listening to this album as a 7 year old at Christmas). There are several Christmas albums from her on Spotify, but I have picked out her earliest, mainly because it features my favourites  Emmanuel, and Love Has Come.

Rating: ★★★½☆

And if all that isn’t enough for you, I must also point you in the direction of my favourite Christmas album, sadly not available on Spotify, but can be obtained for free from Noise Trade. It is Sojourn Music’s Advent Songs, and is well worth checking out.

Spotify Albums of the Month – Oct 2009

Here’s another update of what I’ve been listening to on Spotify last month. As for book reviews, I’ve been a bit slack the last couple of months, but I am nearing completion of a few, so normal service should resume.

Bethany Dillon – Stop and Listen (Listen on Spotify)

A nice easy listening album, but lacks any stand-out tracks, and is a little short on variety. I prefer her earlier albums Waking Up and Imagination. The opening track Get Up and Walk has a sound reminiscent of Sara Groves. Everyone to know and Reach Out are the best songs on offer here.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Matt Maher – Alive Again (Listen on Spotify)

Another singer-songwriter worship leader album, in the mould of Chris Tomlin. Having said that, I’m not sure all of these are positioned as congregational songs, despite his making his name with the popular “Your Grace is Enough”. Interestingly, given that he sounds virtually identical to most contemporary evangelical worship leaders you have  heard, Maher is a Roman Catholic, with a passion for unity within the church. I found his lyrics thoughtful and gospel centred. Sing Over Your Children, No Greater Love and Christ is Risen are my picks.

Rating: ★★★★☆
David Crowder Band – Church Music (Listen on Spotify)

David Crowder Band are back with another album full of their quirky dance-infused rock. You certainly get value for money, with 17 tracks running together into a 73 minute epic. Eastern Hymn and The Veil continue in the same vein as their Remedy album. They cover "Oh how He Loves", which seems to feature on everyone’s album at the moment. I was a little disappointed that there seemed to be few that would be useful in corporate worship, but nevertheless it is another solid album from them.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Derek Webb – Stockholm Syndrome (Listen on Spotify)

This one gained notoriety for the use of a naughty word in one of the songs (although the song in question isn’t even featured on this version of the album). Derek Webb seeks to be a prophetic voice to the church, and pulls no punches. Think emerging church and you’ll have an idea where he’s coming from. Musically it is interesting and varied (not sure what genre it falls into – techno?). Lyrically, he succeeds in being provocative and challenging in an enigmatic sort of way. A dose of the gospel of grace might help a bit if he is to connect with his target audience, unless its not evangelicals but fundamentalists he’s aiming at. In which case I would say that "Freddie" Phelps was never going to buy this album anyway.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Spotify Albums of the Month – Sep 2009

As I hinted last month, there have been some really exciting new CCM albums released on Spotify. First is the news that Matt Redman’s latest album is available – his first full album on Spotify. Second, is the appearance of two more albums from Survivor Records, one of the main British publishers of Christian music. Hopefully this marks the start of them adding all their new albums to Spotify. It would be great to see them begin to add their back catalogue as well.

Ben CantelonRunning After You (listen on Spotify)
The first full-length album from this Canadian born worship leader now based at Soul Survivor Watford. A couple of his songs are doing the rounds of churches in the UK, although he has a way to go before yet before he’s as well-known as his predecessors (Matt Redman, Tim Hughes and Martyn Layzell). A solid, if unspectacular album. My favourite track is Remain.
Rating: ★★★½☆
New Wine WorshipSaving Grace (listen on Spotify)
Rather than producing a live album this year, New Wine took the decision to record an album of their new songs before the conference, featuring a variety of songwriters including Eoghan Heaslip, Neil Bennetts and David Gate. Despite being at the summer conference, there were few tracks here that I remembered singing, and a couple I already had on other albums. It’s an album that has grown on me over several listens. None Like You, and Love Came Down are my picks.
Rating: ★★★★☆
Matt RedmanWe Shall Not Be Shaken (listen on Spotify)
Matt Redman is back yet again, and, despite the bizarre font sizing on the album cover, he hasn’t lost any of his edge. You Alone Can Rescue stands out as the one that will most readily be adopted by congregations. The opening track, This is How We Know is also very strong. A consistently good album from start to finish.
Rating: ★★★★★
Tim HughesHappy Day (listen on Spotify)
This live album features a several of Hughes’ most popular songs (including the smash hits Beautiful One, Here I am to Worship, Happy Day and Consuming Fire), as well as introducing a few new ones, several of which are becoming well known. With the exception of a cringe-inducing rap in the middle of the lyrically unimaginative Dance, this is a good album. It is also nice to see a strong theme of mission in many of the songs.
Rating: ★★★★☆
LeelandLove Is On The Move (listen on Spotify)
For me, this didn’t get off to the best of starts with the lyrics opening track The Door verging into “Jesus is my girlfriend” territory. But Leeland can always be relied on for some exquisite melodies and harmonies, so despite it being a bit syrupy in places its worth a listen. Follow you and Via Doloroso are among the best tracks.
Rating: ★★★½☆

Spotify Albums of the Month – August 2009

After a quiet couple of months, some really exciting new albums arrived on Spotify over the last few days, with British Christian artists finally starting to appear in greater numbers. But I’m going to resist the temptation to mention them until I’ve had a few more listens. So until then, here’s a brief sampling of what came out earlier in August. Click on the album titles for the Spotify link.

Aaron ShustTake Over.
The two strong opening tracks To God Alone and Come and Save Us had previously been released as singles, so I was looking forward to hearing the whole album. And whilst you wouldn’t describe this as a particularly adventurous album, the quality of songwriting is high, making this the best of the bunch this month. 

Rating: ★★★★½
Rachel ScottResolution.
I hadn’t heard of Rachel Scott before, and apparently this is her first full album. It’s a very impressive debut, with a sound reminiscent of Sara Groves. I will definitely be checking out any future albums from her. 

Rating: ★★★★☆
1000 GenerationsTurn Off the Lesser Lights
I usually like Vineyard artists, but the jury’s out on this band from Indianapolis. There are some slightly eccentric production decisions on the earlier tracks. I felt the worship songs were fairly formulaic, but the second half of the album actually features better material. Their single, Fail Us Not is their strongest track. 

Rating: ★★½☆☆
Britt NicoleThe Lost Get Found
After liking the opening track The Lost Get Found which was released as a single last month, I was looking forward to hearing the whole album. The full thing is pleasant enough to listen to although I found the clichéd pop production a little grating in places. So if you like melodic upbeat pop and don’t mind gratuitous use of auto-tune this might be for you. But for the rest of us who aren’t 14 year old girls, there are better choices. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Philips, Craig & DeanFearless.
These guys have been around for ages, but this is the first of their albums I have listened to. They do a good cover of Hillsong’s “From the Inside Out”, successfully pulling off the epic Hillsong sound. Their strength is their use of harmonies, and stylistically, they are similar to Leeland. 

Rating: ★★★½☆