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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Dec
Sounds like … a more chill, relaxed version of Israel & New Breed, Myron Butler & Levi, and other gospel groups that infuse a multitude of styles into their gospel mé lange. At a glance … though by no means essential, Kingdom is a pleasant range of routine and inventive renditions of popular worship choruses by Israel Houghton and company.Track Listing Ancient of Days
You Are Good
Sing for Joy
Jesus Is
Let the Church Rise
Thank You Lord
All to You
Revelation Song
Friend of God
All the Earth

It's been mere months since the release of his best-selling A Deeper Level, and Israel Houghton is back already with the second installment of Sound of the New Breed, an offshoot of his work with Israel & New Breed. In contrast to his other projects, Houghton takes the producer's chair to put his talented singers and musicians front and center. Additionally, the series (which began earlier this year with the likable Freedom) doesn't rely on solely on original material. Instead, Houghton takes popular worship choruses from the Integrity Music archives and puts his own spin on them, with hopes that the gospel community will be exposed to proven church anthems (according to the CCLI).

The task isn't as easy as it sounds. It takes skill to transform the decidedly pop/rock worship songs of Don Moen, Hillsong, Lincoln Brewster, Darrell Evans, and Parachute Band into urbanized, gospel-funk hybrids. But for the most part, the band pulls it off on Kingdom, particularly with the spirited reworking of Ten Shekel Shirt's "Sing for Joy." Others, like Moen's "Thank You Lord" and Gateway Worship's "Revelation Song," come across as smooth, but a little too straightforward to stand out.

The overhaul seems more natural when the originals already have a gospel flair of their own, such as "Ancient of Days" and the group's own "You Are Good," which both work in a fresher, jazzier context. Even "Sing for Joy" surprises as the funkiest tune in the whole set.

As a whole, though, knowing Houghton's eye for detail and reputation for excellence, one can't help but feel a little let down by the end results. There's nothing inherently wrong with these reinterpretations, but they aren't particularly breathtaking or outstanding either. A longer lapse between projects for some more thought and inspiration could be just what Houghton and this series needs.

© Andree Farias, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.