- reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2007 1 Jul
- Good to Be Here
- Who Is This King?
- At the Cross
- Take Me There
- Beautiful You
- Water (There Is None like You)
- Even the Worst of Us
- My Everything
- Your Love
- There You Are
Much was made of Word Records' decision to re-launch the Myrrh brand in 2005, and not without reason. The label has a wealth of history associated with the name, starting with its founding by Christian music visionary Billy Ray Hearn and the signing of a teenager named Amy Grant, as well as pioneering artists like 2nd Chapter of Acts, Petra, Phil Keaggy, Jaci Velasquez, and Fernando Ortega.
Despite its history, the new Myrrh wasn't revived to pay homage to Christian music's greats, but instead repurposed as a worship label providing music resources for churches, much like Integrity Music. Pocket Full of Rocks, the label's first signing, started reasonably well. Sales for Song to the King were good for a debut, and the band even garnered a Dove nomination for New Artist of the Year. But it was by no means a standout worship album, or for that matter a revisiting of Myrrh's past pop glories.
However unintentional, the band's follow-up lives up more to the record label's past than present. Myrrh was once a CCM label at its core, and Manifesto is very much a CCM album, as opposed to a worship project—at least not in the congregational-friendly sense of the term. Soaring melodies, textbook pop/rock motifs, and lyrics too personal or syncopated for a corporate setting abound, all right on par with recent releases by Casting Crowns, MercyMe, and Big Daddy Weave.
When Manifesto is viewed through this Christian pop lens, it works—a significant leap forward from the band's previous effort. These are songs ready for today's Christian radio, all pristinely self-produced by the band and impeccably sung by über-tenor frontman Michael Farren.
But aside from a few exceptions (the piano shuffle of "Take Me There," the somber atmosphere of "Even the Worst of Us") there isn't much distinction or character to the otherwise earnest declarations to God. Nor is it the worship resource that the new Myrrh probably hopes it to be. A good album, though better suited for the CCM charts instead of the CCLI.