Planetshakers, the youth worship movement from Australia (the hotbed of such recent movements, including the various Hillsong groups) returns with a high-energy blast of worship from a recent gathering. And from the opening salvo of the title track to the closing "Look To You" and "Abba Father," the energy never flags or wavers.
It's important to note the common difficulty in reviewing such live performances, particularly at large conferences such as this. It is sometimes a case of "you had to be there," where the music perfectly connected to the theme of the gathering and the celebratory cheering was indeed genuine and not forced. But it's notoriously tough to judge such recordings (be they Passion, Acquire The Fire or Jesus Culture gatherings, etc.) on purely musical ground, given the uniqueness of each gathering.
And then there is the audience that the gathering was aimed for. In the case of Planetshakers, the distinct "Radio Disney" nature of the opening few tunes (keyboard effects, vocals and disco thumps way in the front) is entirely appropriate given the nature of who the movement is aimed at. The album's first three tunes, "This Is Our Time," "Joy" and "My Heart Is Alive" could easily be mistaken for One Direction tunes, with youthful vocals and dancy time signatures.
It is interesting to note the change in feeling and direction with the fourth track, "Leave Me Astounded." A much more mature vocalist takes over and the tempo noticeably lets up to reveal a nice, well-paced tune that sounds worlds different from what preceded it. This pattern follows for "Covered" and "The Water Is Rising."
The youthful poppiness returns with "It's Your Love" and "Sing It Again," and the shift can be a little jarring. It's as if the adults took over for a few tunes, and then turned the microphones back over to the kids. The closing sequence of songs--"You," "Holy" and "He Touched Me"--stumble a bit musically, not knowing quite what type of worship song they want to be. "We Look To You" does bookend the set well, and "Abba Father" is a nice ending coda that mixes youthful and adult voices together nicely.
So, given allowances for geographical differences, age ranges and musical preferences, This Is Our Time does capture the energy and excitement of what must have been a very exciting evening of worship at the Planetshaker's gathering.- Review date: 10/19/14, written by Alex Caldwell of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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