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Matt Redman
Tim Hughes
Paul Oakley
Neil Wilson

All Around the World - Click to view! ALL AROUND THE WORLD (2001)
Take flight on a God-fueled vessel of worship as four prolific lead worshipers share the cockpit to attain lift, thrust, and pitch like never before. Shunning worldwide status by staying on as a young church's music pastor, Matt Redman> has long been a prime example of local service. Time ran its course, and this propeller of songwriting originality recently co-founded Soul Survivor, intended to spark worship; Redman's duties include mentoring the music department, notably sublime lyricist Tim Hughes. Paul Oakley is an apostle of sorts to many England churches' praise ministries, not providing subsidy to the poor but pursuing priestly duty to his Father. Though Forefront Records has just signed Neil Wilson's band Steve, those who frequent England's clubs (yes, the unchurched kind) have long relished his atypical pop/rock that scours blessing and intimacy. Completely studio-recorded, All Around the World lifts off with a Paul Oakley/Tim Hughes duo on "Jesus, You Alone" and "Be Glorified," twin engines that bring the album's spirit to a proper take-off altitude. Guided by a worshipful dead reckoning, a new day's dawn is the pursuit of Neil Wilson "All Around the World," as his cry "Revive us again" rides on an airflow of digitally-generated beats and oddities. Airplanes rarely reach hypersonic speeds, yet it is the combustible Matt Redman who achieves this feat in a cross-current of brazen guitar and a dreamy string symphony. This stealth track, "Lord Let Your Glory Fall," is singular as one of the album's only new songs, with many previously heard on 2000's Live and Unreserved and 1997's The Friendship and the Fear. The duration and depth of praise is exhausted on Paul Oakley's "I Will Always Love Your Name," glorifying at length God's habits like restoration, curse-breaking, and resurrection. Like a brief island fly-by, one finds a Survivor-esque chant buried in "Beautiful Savior," where Tim Hughes takes the lead vocal for a longing, pouring, trusting love song that glides on a full range of sentiments: "Clothed in majesty ~ Lord of history... Star of the morning ~ Glorious in holiness... Heaven's Champion ~ You reign over all." Track seven goes into a stall with its high-pitched "Ooohoohoo" opening, though it has good intentions of navigating past sin and human limits only "Because of You" (referring to Christ). Favored by producers Dwayne Larring and Jason Halbert, the "techno" style of computer-altered vocals, tones and rhythms is the only turbulence experienced up to this point--however, British sensation Neil Wilson engineers that very style to streamlined effect in "Through the Veil." A solo single, it gazes at the cost of Christians' release from captivity: the violent punishment of a faultless Lamb. Introduced by a stabilizing bass line, the classic "Once Again" banks into a smooth turn, reciprocating the preceding upbeat material with a refrain given an unrestricted mix. Weighted by the gravity of glory, the tenth melody overcomes any drag to come, run, and bow before God--a very "Holy Moment" indeed. The "pilots" give their craft one last thousand-foot lateral climb, as the album closer is a four-part harmony that intones, "We're on our knees." This Redman/Hughes/Oakley/Wilson labor is neither pressurized nor interfering, rather a balance between spontaneity and experience (clearly, a flight path plotted by the Holy Spirit). Denying himself fame for a time, Matt Redman's leadership mantle now soars far beyond his peers; similarly, the Lord has shaped Paul Oakley, Tim Hughes, and Neil Wilson into a leading edge of the modern worship movement. Never heeding the advisories of others, these men transport worshipers All Around the World over the highest clouds of human limits, staying aloft in the presence of the Almighty God.
- Josh M. Shepherd

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