In the Company of Angels II: The World Will Sing
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2006 1 Mar
- Great and Mighty
- Draw Me Nearer
- Sing His Love
- Rest Upon Us
- The Story
- The Fountain
- Be Merciful to Me
- I Surrender All
- We Give Thanks
- Mercy of My God
A few years ago, the future of acoustic pop/rock band Caedmon's Call seemed uncertain with the critical departure of singer/songwriter Derek Webb from their ranks. But through their passion for international missions, they found a renewed sense of purpose that helped shape a creative new direction. The result was 2004's acclaimed
But the album wasn't a smash success, so it's no surprise that Caedmon's Call would follow with a return to form—though it's doubtful fans were expecting a sequel to 2001's
Like its predecessor, the album shows a reverence for church hymnody. Guitarist Andrew Osenga in particular seems to have a good handle on worship music, contributing most of the album's best songs. Drawing on the text of an ancient Chinese hymn as inspiration, "Sing His Love" is an upbeat folk two-step that still manages to sound traditional. His "We Give Thanks" isn't quite as memorable or insightful, but it is one of the album's more congregational friendly originals. He also co-wrote "Rest Upon Us," a gentle expression of spiritual weariness and refreshment, with Laura Story ("Indescribable"), further establishing her as a worship songwriter to watch.
Additionally, contributing indie songwriter Randall Goodgame (who recently released a hymns project of his own) used the text of a 19th century hymn to provide the beautifully sparse and classic sounding "Be Merciful to Me." However, the album's two classic covers aren't nearly as impressive. The band's contemporary take on "Draw Me Nearer" by Fanny Crosby and Diane Sheets is pleasant enough, but it's also a predictable contemporary arrangement. Keyboardist Josh Moore offers a new version of the oft-covered "I Surrender All" that's admittedly catchy, but too Caedmon-ized with its alteration of the familiar melody, and therefore unlikely to become a memorable standard.
The band performs well as always, the melodies are good, and there's an admirable focus on thoughtful lyricism over bland repetition in the songs. So what exactly is missing on this Caedmon's Call release? Part of it is practicality. The first
Even if that's the case,
These songs are pleasant with nothing to dislike, but there's also little to become enthusiastic about. As a longtime fan, I found myself conflicted as I listened, so you can imagine how a non-fan might respond to it. Simply put, this band has proven capable of better on past albums.