The act of offering encouragement is an artform that's a subtle dance. If the encouragement put forth is too broad, or consists only of recycled cliches, then it comes off as insincere -- like a greeting card sent in a time of crisis. On the other hand, if the encouragement is too specific, it can miss the wider picture of life.
Veteran CCM duo Love & The Outcome are born encouragers, and over the course of their career thus far (three albums and counting) they have presented their brand of sincere, super-charged encouraging pop with the seeming goal of sharing hope with the masses, one pop song at a time. Their latest album, Only Every Always continues this noble effort, but this being the third full-length project by this husband/wife team, it falls a bit flat musically. There is nothing overtly wrong with the keyboard centric pop music offered up here; it's just the sense that the growth of the band has hit an artistic flatline. There are a few standouts throughout, though, showing that sometimes an encouraging pop song is just what might be needed after a trying day.
After the cloying few opening songs, including the cliched, Instagram caption worthy "I'm Not Lucky, I'm Blessed" and "Need U On Repeat," "Look What God Has Done" rightly points to a history of the Lord at work in past circumstances as a means of encouragement. This Old Testament-like practice, used in many Psalms and writings of Moses, is a good starting point for a believer in need of a bit of encouragement and perspective: "My life is evidence / Of all that God has done / I faced my darkest hour / I wasn't strong enough / But He is faithful / This is my testimony / It's one I couldn't write / If I had known the journey / I'd have given up the fight / But He is faithful (He is faithful) / He is faithful / And now I look more like faith and less like fear / Not living in the past now I'm right here / I'll never stop singing loud and clear / Look what God has done / Look what God has done."
The following tune, "End Of The Day," features a nifty opening bassline and progresses with a sophisticated pop motion. "Start From There" is equally dancy and moves along with a nice distorted vocal and jazzy backbeat. "Nothing Surprises You," and the closing "Moving On," are likewise nice worshipful moments that end the album on an uplifting and sincere fashion.
Depending on the listener's relationship to this sort of overt pop, with titles like "Looking Up" and "You Got This," Love & The Outcome's latest offering can either inspire an eye roll or a shout of hallelujah. There is room for all sorts of approaches in the Kingdome Of God, and this genuine, veteran musical duo is clearly headed in one thematic direction, with the sort of effervescent, fizzy pop (think of fellow Canadian artist Carly Rae Jepsem of "Call Me Maybe" fame) that might just be the thing someone out there needs during a rough patch in life. The album wins points for shear effort (for such a lite pop album, thirteen tracks is impressive) and sincerity, but loses a few for some groan-inducing song titles and cliched song writing. Here's hoping the band grows a bit artistically next time out, but continues the good work of spiritual encouragement.- Review date: 4/7/22, written by Alex Caldwell of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Curb Records / Word Entertainment
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