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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

A Beautiful Sound

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Mar
A Beautiful Sound
Sounds like … classic Geoff Moore, particularly the modern pop/rock sound of his Threads album (with his former band, The Distance), with a little bit of PFR and Steven Curtis Chapman-styled pop/rock in the mix.At a Glance … a fine effort from Geoff Moore, blending his steadily maturing songwriting with the pop-rock sound of his days with The Distance.

Back in 1998, Geoff Moore & The Distance called it quits after more than 10 years of recording '80s-styled Christian pop/rock together. Though the band members all went their separate ways, most to spend more time with their families, Geoff pressed on with his music career, releasing his first solo album in 1999 since before he joined forces with The Distance. The self-titled project was met with mixed reactions. On the plus side, Geoff co-wrote several songs with his long-time friend, Steven Curtis Chapman, resulting in some very well-written pop songs. By the same token, Geoff co-wrote "Speechless" for Steven and toured with him back in 1999. Though Geoff Moore featured more personalized and mature songwriting from Geoff, some fans were disappointed by the sound of the album, which favored more of an organic roots-pop sound than the upbeat rock of his days with The Distance. Fans of that upbeat rock sound may want to give Geoff another chance with his latest project, since he returns to some of the modern rock he was known for with The Distance (i.e. more electric guitars and rock drumming). If you mix Geoff's maturing pop with the modern rock of Threads, you truly get A Beautiful Sound.

Thematically, this is an album of encouragement, reminding us that God is always there to strengthen and comfort us, no matter the circumstances. Helping out on A Beautiful Sound is a strong list of Christian artists who shared in the writing of the album's 11 tracks. Joel Hanson (PFR) co-wrote the title track, a poetic look at the moment when our hearts are finally receptive to the truth of the gospel. This radio-ready song in particular features the same guitar-rock sound as many of the songs on Threads. Joel also helped write the beautiful piano-based inspirational ballad, "Come as You Are" for this album. Another respected guest is Tyler Burkum (Audio Adrenaline), who co-wrote "Impossible" with Geoff. Reminding us that God can do the impossible for us when all else seems to be falling apart, it's another driving-rock track that would have been equally at home on Audio Adrenaline's Lift album. Tyler also lends his guitar skills on several other tracks, most notably an excellent solo on "Every Word You Say," which was co-written by Pete Stewart (Tait, Grammatrain).

The rest of the album is a little more mid-tempo sounding, but it's still more modern and electric-guitar based than Geoff's previous solo project. Three songs on A Beautiful Sound were co-written by Marc Byrd, the lead singer of Common Children and one of the guys responsible for the City on a Hill projects (including co-writing the song "God of Wonders"). Not too surprisingly, the song "Surrounded" features a similar guitar riff to "God of Wonders," though it's still an enjoyable song about God's love for us. Marc also wrote the worshipful "All I Want" and a beautiful ballad called "The Artist," which refers to the way God shapes us and all of creation into his masterpieces. There is also a cover of the Pierce Pettis song, "God Believes in You," a charming, simple folk-pop song that directly fits with the theme of God being an ever-present help in our lives. A Beautiful Sound closes with a live track, "The Keeper," which Geoff wrote more than 10 years ago with Steven Curtis Chapman. It's a beautiful story song about the faith of (presumably) Geoff's grandmother.

A Beautiful Sound was produced by Brent Milligan, an accomplished studio guitarist who's often attached to guitar-based projects such as this (his other credits include The Elms, Ben Glover, Michael W. Smith, and David Crowder Band). He also co-produced Geoff's last album with Monroe Jones, so it's not just a simple matter of switching producers when it comes to this album's slightly different sound. Chalk it up to good communication between artist and producer in finding a balance between Geoff's well-known style over the last 15 years with the maturity of the artist he is today. I can't quite give the album a rave review, because it's still somewhat routine Christian pop/rock. Geoff never really explores new territory beyond what he or other artists have done before. Still, I've come to enjoy Geoff's voice (sometimes clear, sometimes husky and road-weary) as well as his honest and thoughtful songwriting. It's not necessarily going to earn Geoff a new audience or widespread acclaim, but A Beautiful Sound is a good album from a veteran artist who still has a lot to say and can still write and perform with the best of them