Prime Cuts: Tethered to the Cross, You Are God, Be Glorified, Near
Overall Grade: 4/5
Danny O'Callaghan is one of those worship leaders that try to provide an alternative sound to worship. Whilst many of his peers are quite satisfied to be Xerox copies of Hillsong Worship, O'Callaghan wants to offer an atypical worship music construct. Rather than the usual loud stadium pop/rock template, O'Callaghan offers worship songs with a Mute Math's reverb-heavy sound with an emphasis on ambient rock. Calling to mind the music of label mates Rivers & Roberts and Josh Gauton, O'Callaghan's "War of Desires" belongs to the burgeoning eclectic-styled of worship that is refreshing and creative.
O'Callaghan is a worship leader, singer and songwriter living with his wife, Beth, in London, UK. He has been involved in leading worship in local church settings for over 17 years. He has participated in multiple events around the UK and Europe, including David's Tent, Big Church Day Out, Creation Fest and New Wine, and featured on a number of worship compilations. "War of Desires" is the UK worship leader's second EP following his 2016 debut "Son of My Father."
Out of this 6-track EP, the best song has to be the hymn-like ballad "Tethered to the Cross." Packed with rich theological brilliance ("Should wanderlust entice me/His compass true will guide me") undergirding a superior melodic tune, "Tethered to the Cross" has "classic" written all over it. Calling to mind the hymns of Watts and Wesley, "Tethered to the Cross" has a ring of longevity to it. This is the type of song that churches will be singing a hundred years from today.
Though none of the songs belong to the same celestial calibre, "You Are God, Be Glorified" is quite good. Possessing a gorgeous build up to that dynamic chorus (a la Jeremy Riddle's "All Hail King Jesus"), "You Are God, Be Glorified" has that awe-inspiring structure. "Near," an intimate worship song that celebrates God's closeness, thrives on the song's ethereal soundscape. The echo-y vocals and the fat synth beats give"Worth It All" a refreshing touch that is impacting.
However, "Empires," with its prolonged instrumental interludes and with O'Callaghan's vocals receding far into the backgrounded, sounds aloof. Likewise, O'Callaghan's vocals come across as steely and cold in the average-sounding "Freedom." Nevertheless, if you are looking for an alt-worship album that colours outside the traditional lines, check this one out. This EP is creative, unique, and takes a proud left turn in worship music.