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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 May
Sounds like … early '90s Christian pop/rock that echoes Steven Curtis Chapman, Russ Taff, Scott Krippayne, Wayne Watson, and Phillips, Craig and DeanAt a glance … Unfailing isn't really a breakthrough in worship music or pop, but there's enough here in the songwriting and production to establish Carl Cartee as a talent to watchTrack Listing My Offering Chasing After You How Far Unfailing Love Amazed When You Speak More Than Just Words Everlasting Anthem of Praise King of My Soul Heaven

With their earlier compilations in 2005, Spring Hill Worship initially listed only song titles, with no artists' names. But more recently, they've started adding names, indicating a hope to develop some of these artists in time. One of them, Carl Cartee, a worship leader over the last decade, is just as passionate about raising new leaders in the church as he is about writing new songs for it. Though he had originally planned to release an independent album, enough people were impressed with his contributions to the Spring Hill series to make Unfailing a national release.

Those familiar with the compilations will recognize four Cartee songs, unchanged from the original recordings. "Unfailing Love" comes straight from Psalm 33, and while "My Offering" is fairly rudimentary, both still satisfy as good corporate worship. Conversely, despite the strong melody of "Amazed" and the straightforward pop/rock of "When You Speak," neither is particularly easy to sing in a group setting. Those are just two examples that show Unfailing works better as a resource for personal worship and church performance ideas.

Cartee is a decent CCM songwriter with a good full-voiced tenor that's part Steven Curtis Chapman, part Russ Taff (and sometimes part Seal). "How Far" and "Anthem of Praise" demonstrate a distinct Chapman influence, as does "Chasing After You," which explores David's strengths and weaknesses to provide context to the Psalms. There are hints of Scott Krippayne and Paul McCartney in the power ballad "King of My Soul," and the tranquilly acoustic "Heaven" expresses hopeful homesickness.

Some of the wording is predictable and the songs begun to blur together over a relatively short 40 minutes. But the beefy production recalls early '90s Christian pop/rock without sounding too dated or formulaic. It's not really a breakthrough, but Unfailing represents a good start that's better than many might expect.

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