Lifestyle: A Worship Experience
- reviewed by Jim Perry Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2002 1 Jun
The Katinas first hit the Christian music scene with the song "Draw Me Close" on the Michael W. Smith-produced Exodus project. They quickly established themselves as a modern R&B group that sometimes dabbled in the boy-band genre but stayed true to R&B's roots in their strongest offerings. With the recent influx of worship music in the industry, it's easy to grow tired of seemingly every band releasing a worship album. But the Katinas have made a name for themselves with worship-centric concerts, so a worship album like Lifestyle: A Worship Experience is a natural outgrowth of their artistic ministry. And this is the most fun I've had listening to a worship CD since Sonicflood's groundbreaking debut album.
The group shows they're multi-faceted by offering styles ranging from R&B to funk, rock, and reggae-performing these diverse styles separately and simultaneously. They open with a solid rendition of "Mighty River." They then give us a nice twist on their hit single from Destiny, "Thank You," by performing it acoustically. "Lord I Lift Your Name on High" has a stirring backbeat and an island-reggae rhythm, making for a fresh and memorable version of the song. "Trading My Sorrows" also features an island-esque beat, and toward the end of the song they vamp on the "Yes, yes Lord" part in a minor key, which sounds really cool. On "You Are Good," they do the call and response, "God is good — all the time, and all the time — God is good," with the audience, then incorporate it into the song in a funky interlude reminiscent of Earth, Wind, and Fire. Then at the end, James Katina's funky bass licks drive them into an old school double-time gospel groove.
"I Give You My Heart" starts off with a smooth '70's jazz, Rhodes-piano groove and is the most engaging slow worship tune I've heard in a long time. Their performance of "Breathe" is the most soothing rendition I've ever heard, with harmonies in unexpected but beautiful places. "Live Your Love" has a beautiful acoustic arrangement and fades into "I Love You Lord," arguably the most popular worship song ever.
"Beauty of Your Grace" has a classic praise-band feel to it, "Jesus Chant" is a crowd-participation number that has the vibe of dc Talk's "Time is Tickin' Away," and if you thought you liked "Draw Me Close" before, wait until you hear the version here. Two studio tracks close out the album: "Eagle's Wings" is a tasteful rendition with an R &B flair (and no excessive vocal gymnastics), and my favorite song on the record is the last track, "Rejoice." This is the coolest praise song I've heard in a while, an exciting electric-guitar-driven dance-pop track in the same vein as Avalon's
I absolutely recommend