[UP]: UNIFIED PRAISE (2005)
I've always been a fan of delirious?. I discovered their music one hot day in the summer of '98 when "Deeper" hit the US as a huge single. I spent the rest of that season devouring all the delirious? goodies I could grab.
A few summers later I found out about Hillsong through a local church. All I ever knew about the Australian body of believers was that they wrote, "Shout to the Lord." I was delighted to see that many other good congregational worship songs came from the church-and they were begging to be used in place of that ten-year-old chorus.
When I heard that these two groups came together to record a live album, I anxiously awaited the final product. I owned delirious?' Live and in the Can, and Hillsong records all their albums live, so I couldn't wait to hear the dynamics between the two groups in the live setting.
Unfortunately, the album doesn't feel like a marriage where both parties become one. The first half of the album has the Hillsong team leading the 20,000 attendees in their traditional worship songs (classics like, "I Give You My Heart," "Everyday," and "Free"). Then delirious? comes on stage to sing songs they've already recorded live ("Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble," "History Maker," and "What A Friend I've Found") and a few tracks from World Service ("Majesty" and "Rain Down"). Only "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever" and "What a Friend I've Found" showcase Darlene Zschech and Martin Smith singing a duet for the latter half of each track.
But other than this union, everything remains expected and unoriginal. I suppose this CD is good if you've never heard either band on a live recording. But if you're looking for good delirious? and Hillsong worship, I suggest picking up delirious?' Live and In the Can and one of the more recent Hillsong records. I would have liked to see Hillsong cover some delirious? classics, and vice versa, with a fresh vision for each track (perhaps a new time signature, additional instruments, varying melody lines/harmonies, things of this nature). They come close to this vision on the two tracks with Darlene and Martin's duet, but they could have gone so much further in their creative endeavors.
So is this album a complete disappointment? I wouldn't go so far as to say that. If you need an introduction to the work of these two separate worship leaders, this is the perfect CD for you. But if you're looking for something new from these Australian and British folks, keep on looking. The train came close, but it never did fully reach the station.
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