- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 9 Sep
- Must I Wait
- After Your Heart
- Sailing on a Ship
- The Light Will Come
- True Love
- Jesus Lord of Heaven
- Spirit Fall
There comes a point where a music critic must stick to his guns and "defend the new" (as so eloquently put in the movie Ratatouille), even when the new doesn't necessarily sound all that new. Some have said Phil Wickham sounds far too much like Bono; others say he comes nowhere close to U2's legendary frontman. I stand by my original assessment that the newcomer's voice is a wonder to behold regardless, though he comes remarkably close with his impressively soaring tenor.
Truth be told, Wickham probably most resembles guys like Fran Healy (Travis) and Tom Chaplin (Keane)—also good company, and strong indication of the direction taken with this sophomore effort. Cannons is full-on Brit pop, replacing the strings of Wickham's debut with synths. The new focus suits him, even if you're constantly reminded of other artists that have done it before.
"Must I Wait" has that familiar Coldplay-gone-U2 anthemic rock quality, but it works here with the song's intense longing to be with God. Part love song, part hymn, "Beautiful" is equally stunning with its gorgeous build extolling God manifested through Creation, "True Love" in turn powerfully expresses Christ's death and sacrifice. Elsewhere, Wickham borrows from the acoustic ambience of Travis in the hope-filled "The Light Will Come," as well as "Sailing on a Ship," inspired by C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in conveying the journey to find Jesus.
The album works, even despite the less evocative or interesting tracks. "After Your Heart" comes off hokey and derivative, its rallying cry of "being the revolution" goes beyond cliché . Prodigal Son imagery is equally overused, though "Home" conveys it better than average. And much as I love the title track's sound or appreciate a unique metaphor, the last thing I think about with God's glory and Creation is cannon fire.
Yet I'll go with it, because for the most part—much like Leeland and Jason Morant—Wickham's often passionate and occasionally distinctive songwriting is well-matched to his Brit-pop approach. And did I mention he has an impressive voice too?