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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Glowing

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Jun
  • COMMENTS
Glowing
Sounds like … the newer incarnation of Sonicflood crossed with Telecast, or Ian Eskelin, or the worshipful piano pop of The Swift—but not really the guitar rock heard on the first two Seven Places albums.At a glance … Glowing might have worked better if it were attributed to a new group or Seth Gilbert solo album, but the predictable, worshipful piano pop bears little resemblance to the guitar rock of Seven Places.Track Listing Glowing Hearts
Joy of the Lord
Stay with Me
Closer to Thee
Capture My Heart
You Are Able
We Have Been Forgiven
Amazing Love
I Look Upon Your Hill
Rise Up
Psalm 117

It's best to forget what you know about Seven Places. The young power pop band that debuted in 2003 with Lonely for the Last Time is no more. Because after the stronger Hear Us Say Jesus released the following year, drummer Jeffrey Gilbert and bassist Dave Leutkenhoelter left to join Kutless. Which left lead singer Seth Gilbert as the only original member, but he later posted on MySpace that they were no longer a band. Which leaves just two ways to look at Glowing: either this is a salvage-project released post-breakup, or Gilbert is continuing as a solo artist under the moniker Seven Places.

It honestly doesn't matter which. This project is such a radical departure from the previous two albums that many fans will be frustrated. The sound is no longer guitar rock in the same style as Foo Fighters, Sanctus Real, or even Kutless. Instead, Gilbert and company have embraced piano-based worship with bells, strings, and backing vocals trumping the guitars. Think the newer version of Sonicflood with Telecast. Actually, The Swift makes an ideal comparison for several tracks, particularly the bright-but-routine piano-pop cover of "You Are My King (Amazing Love)."

I wish I could say the album gets better as you become accustomed to the new style. Unfortunately, the album's opening salvo of clunky and predictable worship songs sounds as cheap and dated as an indie project. Although further in, "Capture My Heart" and "You Are Able" offer more appeal with their sunny Beatle-esque dispositions, and the deceptively repetitive "Psalm 117" is actually a nifty worship canon.

For sure, Glowing has its moments, and there would be more room for leniency if this were the debut of an all-new band or a solo project from Seth Gilbert. But it's misleading to market this as a new album from a now defunct band, especially considering that the youth group rock sound is so dramatically altered. As a Seven Places album, it simply doesn't work.

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