From his humble beginnings as a youth group worship leader in San Diego, California, comes Simple Records artist Phil Wickham. While it's clear through listening to Wickham's national debut that his music is modern worhship through and through, one should notice immediately that it is different than what most have to come to expect from the genre.
Wickham's attention to art is refreshing, while the lyrics are straightforward, if not too straightforward. Songs like "Yours Alone," "Messiah," and "I Adore You" are all lyrically what we've come to expect in worship, ultimately offering nothing all too deep or groundbreaking. However, it's songs like "Crumble To Pieces" that find Wickham penning beautiful lines such as, "I'm speechless what can I say, words become tears as You wipe them away / all my kisses and crowns at your feet, fire of heaven burn love over me."
Musically, Phil's voice and style will draw most comparisons to Keane or Cold Play. Wickham's vibrato vocal style stands out moreso than those artists, fusing his delivery with power and passion. At times, however, Phil's vibrato can seem a bit excessive. It would be interesting to hear more experimentation with his vocal style, but his vocal talent is unmistakable. Regardless if Wickham's voice is an acquired taste or not, he still possesses one of the strongest voices in worship music today. And what makes Phil's music work so well is his ability to break out of the foolproof praise & worship box to allow his songs to dig deeper.
Phil Wickham crafts a noteworthy self-titled debut that will undoubtedly turn heads as he raises the bar for what we expect from worship music. Fans of Keane looking for a worship record more in tune with their tastes should look no further. Seeing how this young worship leader develops his craft over the next few years should be an exciting process that I'm looking forward to watching.- Review date: 4/23/06, written by John DiBiase
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