Like Tom Petty, Michael Stanley and John Mellencamp before him, Geoff Moore first came to true prominence playing no-nonsense, straight-ahead heartland rock on his first few albums with his backing band, The Distance. And, like Hawk Nelson, Kutless and the Newsboys after him, Moore eventually traded in his rocking ways to craft the sort of kinder, gentler fare that ultimately took over the Top 40 charts on inspirational pop radio.
His latest effort continues the trend, offering up a tight ten-song set of lite-pop compositions and ballads that round off any harsh musical edges and push Moore's warm, robust voice to the forefront. Listeners who took a shine to the bracing hard rock aesthetic of early Distance-based works, like A Place to Stand or Pure and Simple -- or perhaps the comical power pop approach of latter-day Distance Records like Evolution...Redefined -- will find little of either of these this time out. And, truth be told, after a point, the overabundance of languid, mid-tempo numbers like "Broken for Love's Sake," "Lights in the Desert" and "My Longing for You" does cause the songs on the second half of the album to bleed together into a pleasant enough, but not very memorable, whole.
Its somewhat homogeneous musical portion aside, Moore's singular ability to weave deep and poignant messages from the simplest of stories and distill deep spiritual truths down to an easily-relatable essence seems to have only grown stronger with age. And, musical gems like the ethereal, reverb-laden title cut and the beautiful closing "Jude Benediction," the latter of which stands as one of the most transcendently moving cuts Moore has ever recorded, show that, while his musical inclinations may have once and for all taken up residence in the adult contemporary domain, the deeper essence of what made his early efforts so beloved to so many remains intact and undimmed for those willing to dig deeply enough to find it.
- Review date: 9/29/16, written by Bert Gangl of Jesusfreakhideout.com