Prime Cuts: Silent Night, Hark, Joy to the World
Overall Grade: 3.5/5
It is requite these days that Planetshakers would drop an EP every six months. Their fecundity is indeed a blessing to their fans. Not that there are any complains, after the recent releases of two instalments of their "Legacy" album, now they are back with the first volume of their upcoming Christmas album. Creatively titled "Christmas Vol. 1," this is a four-song set, with the Melbourne Australian worship team tackling three traditional carols and one original. The pride of this set is that Planetshakers have taken the time to give each of these ancient paeans a contemporary dressing, making them palatable to today's synth-driven pop soundscape.
Music director Joth Hunt gets the lion's share as far as fronting the microphone: here he takes the lead vocals on two and a half out of the four songs. Hunt croons in his balladry best on "Hark" (abbreviated for "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing") before the song slowly swells into a synth-disco grove that would make Giorgio Moroder proud. Then he joins voices with Chelsi Nikkerud on the acoustic guitar-led "Silent Night," making this hymn the emotional kernel of the record. Both worship leaders are to be congratulated for their earnest and emotive deliveries: they have filled the blessed night of our Savior's brith with awe and delight.
With cascading piano lines that sound like the gentle drizzle of water flowing down a cliff, the Aussie team gives "Joy to the World" a naturalistic ethereal canopy that is indeed creative. However, the EP's sole original track "It's Christmas" sounds out of place with the rest of the carols. The lyrics --- a call to kick up our heels and party --- sounds juvenile and trite. And with the welding of electronic beats and funky dance pop vibes, this song sounds like a desperate blast from those boy bands of the 90s.
Having only four songs, with three of them being covers and one dud, it's a challenge to award this EP with more than a 3.5 out of 5 rating. Let's hope Vol. 2 will be a little stronger on the original front.