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Sounds like … a modern worship mixture of Sonicflood, Newsboys, and Vineyard UKAt a glance … Open Up the Gates is listenable, but it's indistinguishable from countless other generic modern worship projectsTrack ListingOpen Up the GatesRescue MeYou Are HolyIt's All About JesusWorship the KingMy PassionEverything to MeReason I LiveAll I Want Is YouHow I Love You
If you cross Hillsong Australia's upbeat contemporary worship with the exuberance of the Acquire the Fire youth conferences, you might get something like Australian worship team Planetshakers, which sounds like a mixture of Sonicflood, Newsboys, and Vineyard UK. With a strong commitment to challenge and inspire young people, the annual Planetshakers worship conference has grown tremendously in recent years, reaching a total audience of 20,000 in three of Australia's major cities.
Here's proof that record labels don't always keep tabs on each other. Word/Warner eagerly signed Planetshakers hoping to introduce them stateside with Open Up the Gates. But Planetshakers already tried for American exposure with Crowne Music Group on 2002's Phenomena, which revealed modern worship that was derivative of better songs, but still likeable and varied, propelled by incredible live praise-driven concert energy.
Since Open Up the Gates is a studio recording, and since the songs aren't as varied, we're left with "likeable" and "derivative." It's well recorded and listenable, so if you find yourself enjoying worship only for the sake of worship, this is yet another one to consider for your collection. However, while the songs are all originals, they're not even remotely creative or memorable, indistinguishable from countless other generic worship projects—even the song titles are formulaic. Certainly these songs are expressions from the heart to God, and Planetshakers is indeed affecting the church of tomorrow for today. But music this clichéd and simplistic will send many scrambling for the spiritual meat of the classic hymns and better modern worship anthems. Perhaps that's not such a bad thing.