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Above the Noise

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 1 Feb
Above the Noise
Sounds like … a more worshipful version of Kelly Clarkson, Natalie Grant, Nichole Nordeman, Vicky Beeching, and Ana LauraAt a glance … an abundance of soaring praise choruses keep this endearing worship leader from showcasing her knack for intimate moments of adorationTrack Listing Giving It All God Unchanging Amaze Me For You Heal the Wound You Are the Story Sing of Our God You Are the Lord For Your Glory I Stand in Awe Renew The Life I Live

Seattle label Centricity Records has earned acclaim in recent years as home to the likes of Downhere, Circleslide, and Jason Gray. But the label's first homegrown starlet was actually Jaime Jamgochian, a worship leader who's made her rounds singing in conferences for teen girls. Her 2005 debut Reason to Live was warmly received and actually scored the vocalist her first No. 1 hit with the moving "Hear My Worship," which spent a staggering nine weeks at the top of the inspirational charts.

After attention like that, Jamgochian seems poised for even greater success with Above the Noise, an album that expands on her first disc in every possible way. She's a worship-pop artist, so it only makes sense that she teamed up with producer Nathan Nockels (Watermark), the same guy behind almost every Passion album and the modern worship makeover of Phillips, Craig & Dean.

Though Nockels has an ear for softer material, he gravitates towards infectious, radio-ready pop choruses. A few of these would be fine, but there are too many here, beginning with the anthemic yet all-too-familiar sounding "Giving It All." There are some breathers along the way, but Above the Noise is laden with the same kind of radio-friendly worship throughout; it's not until the understated, Nichole Nordeman-penned "Heal the Wound" that the album settles down for the first time.

Jamgochian actually sounds best with less razzle dazzle. A pianist since a young age, she sparkles in the tracks that showcase her at her most intimate. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of moments like these. The few that do exist are tacked on at the end of the album and are an indication of what this endearing worship leader and songwriter is truly capable of. Thematically, Above the Noise is about finding solace from everyday life in the Divine. Musically, it's too loud for its own good.

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