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Album Review – Resound Worship: “Let Praise Resound”

The Context

Resound Worship is a collective of British worship leaders founded in 2006. Those familiar with the development in contemporary praise and worship may remember the late 90s influence of British worship leaders like Deliriou5, Matt Redman, and Tim Hughes. Resound Worship emerges from a different root than those folks, finding its foundation in Jubilate Hymns which began in the 1960s. Resound is the arm of Jubilate that supports the local church songwriter through providing training and publishing songs that are “true, real, accessible, and finished.” Of particular note is that final core value: Resound publishes songs that have been allowed “time to grow” and have been through “trial, critique, and revision.” This may be a not-so-subtle critique of many of the songs published for congregational singing that are musically and lyrically mediocre. In addition to producing this album, Resound Worship also produces a podcast that reflects on current and past congregational songs and issues related to congregational singing.

 

The Content

Musically, this album is built around the currently typical “praise band” arrangement of acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, bass, drums, and some pads to fill in the other spaces. Most songs tend to be led from guitar, but a couple standout tracks that draw from more diverse musical influences (gospel, jazz) are piano-driven. The production of this live recording is top-notch, with a strong focus on the melody vocal but a robust mix of the band underneath. Vocals are not flashy and thus melodies are easy to follow, and the subtle presence of the congregation’s voice in the mix is an invitation for the listener’s participation. Lyrically, the songs are overtly biblical and implicitly shaped by the language of the Book of Common Prayer, with its doctrinal and liturgical poetry providing a model for the lyrical shape.

Notable songs include “Lord You Hear the Cry (Lord Have Mercy),” “What Kind of King (This is Jesus)” and “O Faithful Lord.” “Lord You Hear” feels shaped by the prayers that pervade the Anglican context of worship but with an added intimacy in lyrics that reflect current sufferings. The latter two are both songs penned to meter that evokes the traditions of English hymnody, with memorable melodies and anthemic refrains.

The Conclusion

Although there may be other British worship leaders who get attention from popular “worship” media, the team at Resound Worship should not be overlooked. The songs from Let Praise Resound are lyrically robust and musically resonant with current popular forms without feeling like just more of the same. This album would be a helpful resource for a church who desires to sing songs with biblically-articulated Christology, or for churches who desire to have newly-written songs with pop sensibilities that aren’t beholden to the mainstream “contemporary worship” market here in the States. This album is contemporary praise and worship with more texture and nuance than standard fare.

 

To listen to the album, go to: Apple Music Album Link

 

Review provided by David Calvert, who is the Creative Arts Director for Grace Community Church in rural North Carolina and a PhD graduate in Theology and Worship from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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