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Sounds like … anthemic alternative worship, at times recalling early U2, Coldplay, and Something Like Silas, plus Hillsong Australia's knack for energy, melody, and dramaAt a glance … though not a step back for the young adult worship team, their latest doesn't have as much to offer compared to their previous effortTrack Listing [An Introduction] The Time Has Come Take It All From God Above From the Inside Out Came to the Rescue [A Reprise] None but Jesus [Selah] Fire Fall Down Revolution Kingdom Come No One like You Sovereign Hands The Stand [Selah] Hallelujah
Though it's been in existence only a fraction of the time its adult contemporaries have, Hillsong United—the youth and young adult worship team led by Joel Houston and Marty Sampson at Hillsong Church in Australia—has quickly become a chief source of original material at the congregation's gigantic worship and creative arts department. In last year's God He Reigns, the grown-up Hillsong team used six songs culled from United's impressive Look to You album, and you can bet that Darlene Zschech & Co. are bound to keep using the band's lively repertoire in the future.
In keeping with their productive release schedule, United We Stand is the group's customary yearly installment, offering a familiar mix of declarative praise rockers and sweeping, worshipful anthems. Frankly, there isn't anything on this album that we haven't already heard on a United recording, which is both good and bad. Good because we get another helping of catchy, highly melodic praise choruses interspersed with some effective ballads. Bad because United has already proven capable of more on Look to You, but seem to be settling with playing it predictable and safe.
Proof of this is in the sequencing, which all too swiftly goes from fast to slow—and when these mates get slow, they really mean it. Things kick off with a bang with the irresistible "Take It All" and "From God Above," two rollicking numbers melodically akin to "Tell the World" and "Look to You." After this, the set predictably delves into a seemingly endless string of ballads that ends up lasting more than thirty minutes. The energy level picks up again with "Revolution" and "Kingdom Come," but by then the tedium has robbed United We Stand of its momentum and pacing. This is a good worship music effort, but it doesn't live up to the band's potential to break from convention.