Prime Cuts: Above All Names, Not Alone, The Greatest
Overall Grade: 3.5/5
In this age of Spotify and self-created playlists, it's rare for Millennials to listen to an album right through. Lest even to buy a full-length 10-track record. Keeping abreast with the latest trend of musical preferences, Planetshakers have decided to release EPs with more frequently instead. Such an indigenous move certainly have brought delight to fans. Nowadays, within a matter of months we are greeted with a new EP by this Australian megachurch group. "Heaven on Earth Part One" is their latest offering consisting of 4 new songs.
Though this is an EP, it's still representative of what you would expect from a worship set if you were to attend one of their Melbourne-based services. Thus, this isn't merely a record but it's a snapshot of what you would get if these guys were leading worship in your lounge room. Recorded live over various parts of Asia, namely the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, the songs are led by Sam Evans, Joth Hunt (who also produced and mixed the EP), BJ Pridham, Chelsi Nikkerud and a full team of musicians, dancers and more.
Described as a "praise party," the EP's opener "There's No One Like You" gives illustration to such a designation with its steely beats and larger-than-life synth loops. "The Greatest" prolongs the party; this time with the team enjoying lots of microphone passing moments with the congregation as they sing in roaring enthusiasm. Just as with a finely crafted worship set, track three slows down the pace on what is one of Planetshaker's best worship power ballads "Above All Names." "Not Alone," may not be as congregational focused as the preceding track, but it's a reflective ballad that thrives on its soul-stirring piano backing.
As powerful as these songs are, one thing that has been a bother across the last few Planetshakers' releases is that the songs lack depth. Take "Above All Names" as an example, the song speaks of Jesus having a name above all names. In what ways is Jesus higher? And higher than whose name(s)? What does Scripture have to say about the name of Jesus? The team tries to link the name of Jesus to the authority Jesus gives to us, but what on earth does it mean to have authority? Authority over what? Planetshakers may do better by spending more time marinating these songs in scripture and their own lives before shooting them out at bullet speed.