Prime Cuts: Echo, Through the Ages, God My Rescue
To cite Holy Writ, "every good tree produces good fruit." With the proliferation of prodigious talents such as Darlene Zschech, Mia Fieldes, Miriam Webster, UNITED, and Brooke Fraser, we are indeed enjoying the luscious fruits of Hillsong Church. Add to that salver now is Newport Worship. Newport Worship is the worship team of Newport Church, funded in 2006 by Jonathan and Dianne Wilson, former Senior Associate Pastors at Hillsong in Australia. Established out of a call from God to begin planting churches, Newport now uses their platform to encourage others to do the same - stepping out and thriving in their purpose. Over the last 5 years, Newport's worship team has grown, beginning by writing songs for their church and now seeing the ways God has worked through those songs even beyond their community.
Via a connection of Hillsong's Tim Whincop, Newport Worship has worked out a deal with Provident Music for the release of their major label live worship debut "Paradise." Featuring 12 newly crafted worship tunes, these paeans come mostly from the pens of the church's in-house team, helmed by worship pastor Graham Bronczyk. Organically these tunes finds its sonic resemblance most akin to the music of their mother church, Hillsong, particularly that of Hillsong Young and Free. As Bronczyk describes in a recent interview with us, these songs are made to party. As a response to the Gospel, which is "good news," the focus of these songs is to enable us to celebrate, rejoice, and promulgate the fact that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ has set us free from the debilitating crutches of sin and its grotesque grasp.
With such a celebrative tenor as the album's undergirding tone, you can expect bouncy uptempos to dominate the record. Best of which is the album's lead single "Echo." True to the song's titular, "Echo" reverberates with God's goodness and grace brought about by some scintillating beats as we choose to live in Him. Out of the lyrics of "Echo" come the album's title "Paradise." In sync with the sounds of younger worship bands such as Young and Free or Inspire Worship is "Your Love Has Over," a Christ-centric song that flourishes with lots of arpeggios on the keys. Swinging the pendulum towards the opposite direction is the anthemic "Through the Ages which extols the impassable attributes of God over a hymnic-structure.
With its ear-grabbing popish hooks, "Every Way" calls to mind earlier propulsive Hillsong material such as "One Way" and "Blessed." While "Chasing Your Heart" even rides along some impressive EDM beats. Yet, not all are party barn-burners. Recessing into more contemplative material is the future Good-Friday worship classic "God My Rescue." A pensive cooker of a tune with lots of palliative balm for those who are hurting, "God My Rescue" calls upon the Crucified Savior in absolute abandonment. This song is indeed a gem. "Live to Know You" and "For My King," both of which clocks in at over 6 minutes each, are passable (without being exceptional) atmospheric ethereal-sounding ballads in the veins of Hillsong's "Cry of the Broken" and "His Glory Appears."
Though Newport Worship did wean on its mother's milk in Hillsong Church, with "Paradise," they show that they have matured enough to stand on its own with their fresh, engaging and Christ-centered songs.
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