Prime Cuts: For Your Glory (Let the Church Rise), Savior Reigns, Only Jesus
Overall Grade: 4/5
Some worship songs are great soundtracks for personal worship but they have little utility for congregational worship, especially among smaller churches. These songs may have sublime theological content and excellent riffs, but they are not singable. Worship leaders, especially in smaller church settings, can equivocally attest that the average pew occupier has a significantly slower grasp of melodic structures relative to a trained musician. This is why many Christians treat worship as a spectator event; where they sit in the trenches and watch as they would do at a Justin Bieber concert. This is where ICF Worship comes in. Their previous album for Integrity Music The Journey is choke full of singable resources for the church.
Six months later, they have greeted us with yet another Integrity Music release Only Jesus. Titled after the theme of their annual conference this year, these are the songs that have been what thousands of young people across Europe have been singing over the last few months. ICF, which stands for International Christian Fellowship, started off as a Bible study group for English speaking business people in Zurich, Switzerland. Now, they are a megachurch of mostly young people with services offered in three languages.
Only Jesus is released under three formats: first, there is the physical cd which comprises of 6 new English songs, 2 French songs, and 2 songs from Indonesian worship leader Sidney Mohede. Online, the church team will release two separate 6-song EPs with various configurations of the songs on each set.
To simplify the complexity of these permutations, this review is based on their physical CD of 10 tracks, six of which are new English songs. Best among the sextet of new English songs is "For Your Glory (Let the Church Rise)." Checking all sense of individualism at the door, "Glory" is a dynamic powerhouse anthem made for the entire congregation to sing. With a chorus that rings with memorability in one's ear after the music has faded, this is to this generation what Jack Hayford's "Majesty" was to the previous. Unfortunately, none of the other songs level on the same height as "Glory," but the title cut "Only Jesus" comes close. A reflective ballad, the song is given even more dimension with Sidney Mohede on co-lead vocals. More contemporary in the vein of youthful teams like Hillsong Y&F is the guitar-driven "What a Love" and the EDM-entrenched "Alive (Breathe on Me)."
Tagging onto the new English songs are two French offerings by Matt Marvane. "Mon Roi" (translates "My King") is a French version of ICF's formerly released song "King (Friend of Mine)." The other French offering and the two Mohede add-ons don't really fit the tenure of the record; making the album sound it is fragmented into three sections. The two Mohede songs are more pop-centric and a tad dated in terms of the sound. Nevertheless, Mohede's "Savior Reigns" is a power-fest worship that showcases Mohede's multi-octave range to great acclaim. If more time were invested to record 10 tracks joined together with an overarching theme, sound and flow, this album would be superb. As great as Mohede and Marvane are, they just don't gel well with the sound ICF are envisioning.