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☆

Spotify Albums of the Month – July 2009

Last month was a little disappointing in terms of new Christian music on Spotify, but here’s the best of what I’ve been listening to recently:

Some New Albums

David OstbyBecause of You Polished production of worship songs from a Norwegian worship leader. Whilst I doubt any of the songs will become mainstream in the UK, the standard of song-writing is high, and Ostby is probably one to watch for the future. The title track, “All because of you” is the strongest.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Brandon BeeThis is the Revolution This is an album from a producer turned solo artist. The sound is somewhat similar to Phil Wickham, but featuring heavier guitar work. “Your holiness” is my favourite track.

Rating: ★★★½☆
Michael BahnPure Another worship-leader album, featuring the same sound as, well, all the other worship leader albums I have been listening to recently. Again, the song-writing is of a consistent quality. “You are in control” and “I believe” are my favourites. A solid, if unspectacular album.

Rating: ★★★½☆
Nick BattleKing of My Heart I’m not sure this one deserved its 10/10 rating from Cross Rhythms, but it is an interesting collection from this producer/songwriter with the help of several guest vocalists/collaborators. The styles are varied, and not all were exactly to my taste. The folksy “All the Kings Horses” is probably pick of the bunch for me.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Some Singles

Here are a few recently released singles from some excellent artists which I am hoping will be followed up with the availability of the full albums soon…

Spotify Albums of the Month – June

Last month saw two good new albums from female artists, and since my previous Spotify recommendations have been a little male dominated, I have decided to make this girl’s month for my monthly CCM Spotify recommendations.

Christy NockelsLife Light Up. (4/5) Christy Nockels is a worship leader with the Passion movement. There are some great melodies and enough surprises thrown into the chord sequences to prevent this from being just another worship album. A Mighty Fortress is Our God is a wonderful adaption of the classic hymn which I hope will be picked up by many churches. She does a great rendition of Brooke Fraser’s Hosanna, but it is a song that just seems to be on everyone’s album at the moment. You are able is another strong track on what has been my favourite new album of the month.

http://www.christynockels.com/

Lanae’ HaleBack and Forth. (3.5/5) This is the first album from singer songwriter Lanae’ Hale following here very successful debut EP two years ago. It opens with several upbeat pop/rock tracks that showcase her excellent voice, before settling down for a few stripped down ballads. If I’m Broken and Here’s to the Girls stood out for me. An enjoyable listen despite the lyrics being a little girly in places.

http://www.lanaehale.com/

Amy GrantLead Me On 20th Anniversary Edition (4/5) – Amy Grant has had a remarkable career in the Christian music industry, spanning decades, but the pick of her albums is clearly 1988 release "Lead Me On". It has been voted number one Christian album of all time. Sure it sounds a little dated now, but I still find it a good listen. Title track Lead Me On and the pointed What About the Love are my favourites. The bonus second disk includes some alternative versions and a few brief interviews.

http://www.amygrant.com/

Vicky BeechingDouble Take (Painting the Invisible & Yesterday, Today and Forever). (3.5/5) Vicky Beeching is a worship leader and songwriter with Vineyard. Originally from the UK, she is now based in Canada. Several of her worship songs became well known after being included Vineyard UK albums, including Yesterday, Today and Forever, Above All Else, and There’s No One Like Our God. I really like the hymn-like The Wonder of the Cross. The double-album format represents excellent value for money, if you’re not listening on Spotify. It would be nice to see a new album from her in the near future.

http://vickybeeching.com/blog/

Sara GrovesTell Me What You Know. (4/5) Sarah Groves has been churning out successful albums for a decade now. Thanks to Spotify, I have been able to listen to a few of them and have picked out 2007 release Tell Me What You Know as my favourite. I like her distinctive and almost conversational song-writing style such as Song for my Sons, or the stirring When the Saints.

http://www.saragroves.com/

Spotify Albums of the Month – May

Here’s some of the albums I’ve been listening to on Spotify last month. Apologies to any readers in countries unable to use Spotify.

NewsboysIn the Hands of God (3/5)

The only Newsboys album I own is Thrive, which I thought was a nice mixture of the anthemic and the quirky. In some ways this new album has a similar sound, but lacks the stand-out tracks that Thrive has. Lyrically it was a little disappointing. "This is your life, treat yourself right, treat others right, live like you know you should". … "heaven’s calling for your best shot", sound like little more than a motivational pep talk. "In the hands of God" and The Upside are my favourites.

Chris and ConradChris and Conrad (4/5)

This a very strong debut album with impeccable production quality. In fact, it almost seems too slick in places – did we really need auto-tuned vocals in Rescue? Its filled with lots of big, anthemic melodies. The songs are well crafted, and the lyrics express complete devotion to Jesus. Lead me to the cross (which interestingly also features on the Newsboys album – I don’t know whose song it is), Love Revolution, and Breathe Your Life are my favourites.

Jeremy RiddleThe Now and Not Yet (3/5)

Jeremy Riddle is a Vineyard pastor / worship leader. The album features a mix of driving praise tracks and more reflective ballads. Bless his name is perhaps the most suitable for congregational use, with a strong melody if a little unadventurous. I didn’t think any one track really stood out, but I liked Among the Poor and I am Redeemer.

Jonny DiazMore Beautiful You (3.5/5)

This album has a cheerful and sometimes cheesy pop sound, but thanks to some nicely crafted lyrics and melodies, I still found it enjoyable. The opening track More Beautiful You, tackles self-esteem issues in young girls, although risks sounding a little clichéd. The humorous bonus track The Opener is a nice addition.

AbandonII (3/5)

Rather unconventionally, Abandon have followed up their debut EP with another EP rather than a full album. The opening track Song for the Broken has a U2 feel to it. If I could write a song, has a beautiful melody, although I was not entirely sure I knew what it was about.

Spotify Albums of the Month – April

I have been enjoying listening to a variety of new albums on Spotify again this month, so here’s another round of recommendations for you to try out.

Jars of ClayThe Long Fall Back to Earth.

 

This album was released only a couple of weeks ago, so it provided the perfect opportunity for me to check out yet another popular and successful Christian artist that thus far had passed me by. It took me a few listens before I really got into it. I would describe it as a consistently good album with no real stand-out tracks. There are lots of gentle, atmospheric melodic tracks interspersed with a few more upbeat numbers, and shades of Coldplay here and there. My favourite tracks on the album are Hero and Heart.

Jon ForemanFall, Winter, Spring, Summer EPs.

Jon Foreman is lead singer and main songwriter with Switchfoot, but last year he completed a series of four solo EPs, one for each of the four seasons, with a more acoustic and stripped-down backing than the Switchfoot albums. The quality of lyrics is high, with some songs telling poignant stories, and several based on Scriptural passages. The backing is mostly acoustic guitar with various orchestral instruments quietly in the background adding interest.

Here’s my pick of the tracks from each album. Fall: Equally Skilled. Winter: Behind Your Eyes. Spring: Your Love is Strong. Summer: Instead of a Show

Chris TomlinHello Love

Having enjoyed his last two releases (See the Morning and Arriving) I had high hopes for this album, but must confess to being a little disappointed. Its not that there is anything ‘wrong’ with it per se, it just seems too similar to everything that has gone before.

Opening tracks Sing, Sing, Sing and Jesus, Messiah essentially carry right on from where he left off before. Perhaps he would benefit from working with a different producer and band on future albums. I’m not sure that many of the tracks will have the enduring appeal of previous congregational worship hits such as Indescribable and How Great is Our God. He covers Bluetree’s God of this City, which gives extra exposure to an excellent song. The title track Love, complete with Watoto Children’s Choir would be more suited as a theme tune to a forthcoming Lion King movie.

Jimmy NeedhamNot Without Love.

Christianity Today magazine gave this album a rave review and even compared his passionate lyrics to Keith Green. I decided it was worth a listen even though the “jazz-inflected acoustic pop” is not quite my normal choice of music. The opening track champions the apologetic power of love over mere words and arguments, but its hard to be provocative when your making a point everyone agrees with. There’s a nice mixture of moods. My favourite tracks are Before and After and The Author. The spoken closing track is certainly passionate, but in my view a little overwrought. I skipped it on subsequent listens. Overall a refreshing change from my normal listening habits, but probably only one for occasional listening.

PS Apologies to any readers in regions where you can’t access Spotify. I’m sure there are equivalent ways of checking these albums out.