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Sounds like … the energy of modern gospel artists like Kirk Franklin and Tonéx, plus traditional choral elements recalling New Direction and Israel & New BreedAt a glance … much livelier than his studio debut, Victory bears witness to the unrelenting creativity and restlessness of Tye Tribbett and his Greater Anointing gangTrack Listing Intro I Want It All Back Bless the Lord Hallelujah to Your Name Everything Will Be Alright Everything Will Be Alright (Reprise) G.A. Hymn (Who Else But God) Seated at the Right Hand No Other Choice Sinking Still Have Joy 1-2 Victory Victory Outro Everything Pt. 1 & 2/Bow Before the King
I remember seeing Tye Tribbett & G.A. live in July of 2002, way before they were signed to Sony Urban Music. They were opening for Mary Mary shortly after the sisters released Incredible, but they might as well have been the headliners. Not only did they nearly upstage them; they brought the house down. Everything about them—their razor-sharp dance moves, fashion-forward urban wear, energetic vocals—stood out. More strikingly, their show didn't sound or feel like gospel music, but something all in its own realm.
The ensemble's second album with a major label, Victory - Live, is an apropos testament to this restless spirit. Recorded at Philadelphia's Deliverance Evangelistic Church, this set is leaps and bounds more representative of the group's ethos than their debut, 2004's understated Life. That album confined Tribbett & Co. to a likeable, neatly assembled box of neo-gospel material—well done, but too mild-mannered and placid next to the collective's electrifying live show.
As its title indicates, Victory is all about spiritual warfare and the power of praise in winning the battle. After a boxing-themed intro that recalls Carman's The Champion (minus the kitsch), Tribbett and his troupe dive straight into "I Want It All Back," an empowering, devil-bashing call-to-arms that sets up the premise of the record. From there on out, Victory pushes the boundaries of what the gospel genre can do, with stylistic twists and turns that go from Latin-ized bossa nova grooves ("Bless the Lord") and swaying Celtic flourishes ("Hallelujah to Your Name") to reverent worship ("Seated at the Right Hand") and even some Broadway-styled numbers ("Everything Will Be Alright," "Sinking").
Though the shifting moods and rhythms may be too much for some, it's all uncannily cohesive, never overbearing the listener to the extent Tonéx did a couple of years ago with the overindulgent Out the Box. As far as live albums go, Victory - Live holds together triumphantly.