It is surprising how many Christian artists don't originate in the United States, but are still quite successful in its market. Such artists include Newsboys, Delirious?, Rebecca St. James, and the list goes on. But another band by the name of Revive wants to make their mark overseas from their native land, Australia, and with their US debut, Chorus of the Saints, they are well on their way to achieving that goal.
Though this is the first album released by the band to be geared towards the American market, this album isn't completely new material. Chorus of the Saints is actually just a repackaging of the band's last album by the same title with remastered and reordered tracks plus the addition of a new song ("The Truth Is"). If you happen to already own this version of the album, this record really may not be worth your while, but for the vast majority of American listeners, this will be the first time they've heard Revive's work.
Revive does a great job of getting the listener's attention right from the get-go, with the energetic title track and the equally lively "Can't Change Yesterday" to start things off. "Stay" and "Distant Memories" continue the energy later on in the record, with the more thoughtful "The Truth Is" and "You Know" in between these song sets. "You Know" particularly stands out, as it features a collaboration with Third Day's frontman Mac Powell. Powell and Revive's singer Dave Hanbury work very well together vocally, and make the song one of the gems in the bunch. The record ends up being a decent collection of worshipful pop/rock tracks with a few surprises (such as the country rock track "Don't Look Anywhere Else") thrown in. The closing track is a little bit lacking in power to take the record to a satisfying finish, but it achieves its purpose, nonetheless.
I'd like to give Revive major kudos for their lyrical content. This is indeed a pop/rock record to give God glory. It seems to be a trend right now to have more watered-down messages in some albums' lyrics, but Revive is a refreshing break from this tendency, shamelessly crediting God and his majesty all the way through the record. I applaud this boldness.
The factor that really holds this album back, however, is its lack of uniqueness musically. Revive can pull off the pop/rock sound decently, and it's obvious from their execution they aren't new to the trade of making music. But what they perform has been heard before many a time, and a little distinctiveness could have improved the entire album significantly. It's especially disappointing since this isn't their first record, and one could expect more from an already seasoned band. Perhaps we can hear something a little more different musically by the time their next effort comes around.
Revive will likely win over a good number of American listeners, and they should. With unashamed lyrics and a sufficient sound, the band should get enough success with this release. A little more experience in the industry will fill up their holes, however. This is just another band to keep an eye on, and will probably prove to be one of the better new groups of this year.- Review date: 3/8/09; PReview date: 2/12/09, written by Roger Gelwicks
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