Prime Cuts: You Restore My Soul, Spirit & Truth/Do It Again, The King is Here
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
If there's such thing as love at first hearing, it must have had happened while listening to New Wine Worship's "You Restore My Soul." While some worship albums take repeated listenings for one to warm up to, there's something about this new record that immediately grabs us. Such instantaneous gratification is attributive to a couple of factors. First, there's a ring of familiarity to this disc's song choices. This immediately engages us to want to worship along. New Wine Worship have not only covered some of today's trending worship songs (such as Chris McClarney's "Yes and Amen," Cory Asbury's "Reckless Love" and Phil Wickham's "Living Hope"), but they have also gathered included the best of the recent Integrity Music's releases (such as Worship Central's "Stir a Passion" and "Pray" plus Chris Sayburn's "Nothing But Grace" and "Spirit and Truth"). Second, because there are only three previously unreleased songs ("You Restore Me," "What a Saviour" and "The King is Here") they are cherry picked from the absolute best.
Before we delve into an exposition of the songs, a word needs to be said about the team. New Wine Worship is the worship ministry of the New Wine churches of England. Recorded at regional conferences held in three different U.K. cities earlier this year, the project features songs led by the New Wine Worship team of Chris Lawson Jones, Nick Herbert, Lauren Harris, Chris Lawson Jones, Tom Read, Abi Johnson and Alfred Nygren.
What really gives distinction to this record are the song choices. The team have chosen some of the most sing-able songs geared for the worship of the church. Worship Central's "Stir a Passion" not only has instantaneously recognisable hook, but it's a heartfelt prayer that all Christians should be praying. A passion for God is the panacea to all half-hearted commitments. Chris Sayburn's "Spirit and Truth" has a chorus that is so catchy that you can't help humming along in a couple of listens. As wonderful as Phil Wickham's version of "Reckless Love" is, it is set in a key that is far too high for the average congregant. Alfred Nygren's take of this soon-to-be worship classic is more thoughtful and conducive to the average congregation.
As far as the previously unreleased songs are concerned, the title track "You Restore My Soul" is ambulant to the hurting soul. Harkening us back to Psalm 23, worship leader Lauren Harris first seats our turbulent souls onto the Shepherd's verdant grass before making His presence palatable to us. "The King is Here" is lyrically Jesus-exalting encased within a tune that gloriously enhances the song's theme. "What a Saviour" is the weakest among the trio. Though by no means a dud, the song check marks many well-loved phrases without saying them in ways that are fresh and provoking.
Abi Johnson, one of the key worship leaders, has a gorgeous smokey alto that calls to mind Brooke Ligertwood. She gets to lead Chris McClarney's "Yes and Amen" and Cory Asbury's "Reckless Love." In both instances, she passes with honors. However, one would love to hear her on an original of her own own. If there is anything that discounts this album's utility, it's that there are far too many covers. Other than that, this is an excellent effort where the songs are instantaneously likeable and they are made with the church's worship in mind.