Learn to Fly
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 May
- We Can Work It Out
- Transform Me
- You Call Me Yours
- Learn to Fly
- Come and Rescue Me
- Make My Heart Your Home
- Hymns Medley
- Thank You
I know we shouldn't judge a book or album by its cover, but the one for Learn to Fly kinda scares me. It's bizarrely hokey, especially for a trio of women in their mid to late twenties.
Instead, judge Prelude by their pedigree, which better reflects the album's quality. You might recognize Kara Tualatai better as Kara Williamson, a solo artist in her own right who's also the daughter of award-winning choral arranger Dave Williamson. Rachel Hockett in turn is the daughter of Christian R&B pop duo Billy and Sarah Gaines. And Amanda Omartian is the daughter of industry vet Michael Omartian, who along with this album has also produced for Amy Grant, 4Him, and Whitney Houston, among others. The three have been longtime friends since junior high, and their debut is truly a family affair with Williamsons, Gaineses, and Omartians utilized throughout.
And no, they're not the feminine answer to dc Talk, but their pop style is almost as eclectic. The penitent "Transform Me" combines slick AC pop with '70s rock sensibilities and a dramatic, almost classical styled melody. That classical touch extends to the piano in pop songs like "Come and Rescue Me" and "Make My Heart Your Home"—undoubtedly the work of Omartian senior, though Rachel plays piano for her original instrumental "Friends." There's also jazzy R&B ("Numbers"), urban pop ("Thank You"), and a fun contemporary pop cover of The Beatles' "We Can Work It Out" (their first single) that sounds more sophisticated than trendy. It's such a tasty smorgasbord that even a dé jà vu Christian pop ballad like "You Call Me Yours" sounds fine in small doses.
The three sing well together and blend inspirational lyricism with songs about overcoming personal struggles. If Prelude is aiming for teens, they're missing the mark, but if AC pop was the goal, well, I only wish Point of Grace was this varied and inventive sounding. I guess this group must be doing something right if their biggest problem is bad cover art.