Dreams & Visions
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Nov
- Incense of Praise
- You Are There
- Psalm 91
- My Father's World
- In Your Time
- Flying Toward the Sun
- Eve of Your Return
- Wailing Wall
- Glory Forever
Mary-Kathryn's 2000 national release—her third album—was one of the first reviews I ever wrote; I think it's fair to say we've both improved since then. One Spirit memorably blended world music elements with ethereal pop and inspirational songwriting. The only thing holding it back was so-so production values, sounding a little too routine and second-rate.
Though it's taken seven years to release a follow-up, Mary-Kathryn has improved in every way for Dreams & Visions. There's a stronger rhythmic foundation, alternating exotic beats with programmed Euro pop a la Enigma or Delirium. Thicker bass and more textured keyboards are topped off with the mesmerizing violin of Hugh Marsh (Bruce Cockburn, Dan Fogelberg), and of course, Mary-Kathryn's beautiful voice reminiscent of Christine Denté in tone and Joanne Hogg (Iona) in style.
"Incense of Praise" plays like Iona or Michelle Tumes with a slight Middle Eastern hook, while "Eve of Your Return" is more Celtic in feel. This ethereal style works nicely for a floating, Enya-like rendering of the hymn "This Is My Father's World." The worshipful "Glory Forever" sounds hypnotic in its programmed pop sound, while "In Your Time" benefits from some striking Brit-pop ambience.
Mary-Kathryn has gained some mainstream acceptance with her music over time. Yet she remains true to her church roots, offering songs that are very scriptural. It's obvious where "Psalm 91"
The album is a little plodding at times ("Wailing Wall" is beautiful, but pokey), but for the most part, Mary-Kathryn nails it with a wonderful mix of ethereal melodies and reflective sounds that provide an ideal musical backdrop for meditating on the Word of God.