One Worship 'One Worship Vol. 2' Album Review
Prime Cuts: Invitation, Unto You, I Will
Looks can be deceiving. Fronted by a blonde female worship leader lifting up her hands over a glitzy neon lighted platform featuring a glossy looking choir and a full worship band parading across the stage, the album cover of One Worship looks eerily familiar. In fact, the piquant observer would have noticed that the cover here has some striking resemblances to the front picture of Hillsong Live's career defining record "For All You've Done." Is this one of those numerous church bands trying to carbon copy Darlene Zschech and her Hillsong team? So, are we in for another one of those worship CD groups trying to be the US counterpart of the Australian mega church group and thereby failing miserably? One listen to these 14 tracks reveals that the answer is no. Other than being led by a blonde female worship leader (Debra Arnott), being self contained (such that they write their own songs), and being a church-based group, this is where One Worship and Hillsong part ways. While Hillsong trumps on their anthemic building stadium rockers, though One Worship still uses the contemporary tropes, they are by far more demure and devotional. This worship band emerging out of His Presence Church in Woodland Hills California offers a proportionally more ballads than most worship albums these days. And they have often harkened back to the 90s, especially to the heydays of say Don Moen or Marty Nystrom or Lenny LeBlanc, in utilizing tons of strings and the choir to offer a warmer backing. Most importantly, Debra Arnott and her team need to be congratulated for penning some solid songs here; because unlike many of their peers who have resorted to the latest trends, it's still the songs on this disc that hook the listeners incessantly to the presence of God in worship.
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It is by no coincidence One Worship is known by their titular: they have made it emphatic to bring different ages, cultures, languages and styles in concert as one in the worship of the Almighty. This is very much reflected in the album. While many worship record would begin with the predictable rocker of chugging guitars and pounding drums, this disc begins majestically with a children's choir segued in with a rapt performance of Debra Arnott on the opening cut "I Believe." They continue to shatter stereo types with "Unto You." In this hymn-like ballad that calls upon the nations to worship God, here various verses are even sung in different languages, interweaving the different cultures beautifully in this united tapestry of praise. And when was the last time a worship band would leave their typical worship template to embrace a different style? On "I Will," Arnott and her team have decided to go Caribbean with this Jimmy Buffett lilt song that will guarantee to get your toes tapping.
One of the perennial temptations of worship music these days is that they are spiritually cadaverous with the overwrought clichés and endless repetitions. In order to avoid such triteness, One Worship has decided to return to the singing of Scripture such as "Philippians 4." As the title "Philippians 4" suggests, this is setting to music the Apostle Paul's exhortation not to worry but to commit everything to God in prayer; while "My First Love" is an epigrammatic exposition of Revelation 2:4. Such scriptural treatments certainly serve the benefit of imbuing the listener deeper and deeper in God's word making the worship experience far richer. Further, One Worship has a way of making us appreciate the things of God we often overlooked. On the strings led ballad "Invitation" for example, Arnott mordantly challenges us that worship is a God induced event that we should never take for granted.
This is not to suggest that this album is a sleeper. Though the ballads dominate, the tempo does perk up especially in the Psalm-like "All Things Are Possible." Here One Worship has added some Gospel funk to the mix with some spirited sprawling from a soulful choir which is delightful. And everything pulsating (electric guitars, drums and keyboards) get the spotlight on the rocking "Victorious King." Released on Dream Records, One Worship joins an imprint of worship juggernauts such as Darrell Evans, Press Play, Cindy Cruse Ratcliff in a surprisingly stellar release. This release will begin to get noticed not just because that it is good but it is by far one of the most adventurous records released in a long while.
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