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Sounds like … a parade of mostly familiar worship songs set to "rock" ballad arrangements in the same vein as Jeremy Camp, Building 429, and Three Doors DownAt a glance … beyond the popularity behind their name, Kutless fails to offer a compelling reason to pick up their dull and predictable worship effortTrack ListingWe Fall DownFinding Who We AreTake Me InReady for YouDraw Me CloseAll Who Are ThirstyBetter Is One DayAll of the WordsStrong TowerJesus Lord of HeavenI Lift My Eyes UpWord of God SpeakArms of Love
Before diving into the shallow waters of Strong Tower, the third album from rising rockers Kutless, let's make a distinction: It's impossible for us to have enough worship in our lives, but it is very possible to have too much worship music—especially those albums which rehash the same songs featured on tons of other albums in recent years. Do we really need covers of standards like "Draw Me Close" and "Better Is One Day" from every Christian artist with a recording contract?
A worship album isn't a stretch for Kutless since they started out as a worship band, but it would have been nice if they at least appeared to stretch. Unlike Sonicflood's pioneering debut and the Skalleluia projects from The Insyderz, Strong Tower fails to leave an indelible or interesting stamp on modern worship. Jeremy Camp and Building 429 have both applied original songwriting and a similar neo-grunge rock sound to worship music, but Kutless merely offers a parade of stale and lifeless faux-rock ballads. Of the thirteen tracks, only two are Kutless originals, one coming directly from their previous Sea of Faces disc. Only "Jesus Lord of Heaven" and a relatively upbeat "I Lift My Eyes Up" show any spark, and a closing string quartet cover of "Arms of Love" offers the sole example of sonic variation.
It's hard to decide whether Strong Tower is more disappointing as rock or as worship. The average teen band can do at least this well (if not better) in both genres. Regardless of whether you enjoyed the melodic rock on Sea of Faces, there's no denying that Kutless sounds more lethargic and predictable here. Is it wrong to think that one of Christian music's most popular bands today should offer their best work—instead of their worst—for the sake of worship?