Prime Cuts: What He's Done for Me, We Believe, Only God Knows
Overall Grade: 5/5
Quartets within Southern Gospel music are a dime and a dozen. 70% of these quartets can sing, and a smaller subset can sing really well. And with the ubiquity of modern audio technology, there's no excuse these days for paltry-sounding records. So, in many cases, what sets a record apart from average to excellent lies in the choice of songs. The definite talking point of Triumphant Quartet's brand new StowTown Records "Yes" is in the songs. Partnering with two of today's most respected Southern Gospel producers, Wayne Haun and Gordon Mote, Triumphant Quartet has chosen absolutely 11 top-notched selections here. Frankly, there's not a dud in the offering.
Lead single "Even Me" is a winner from every angle. Superior melody with a highly singalong quality, words that speak of the power of the Gospel to save, and passionate singing that exude feelings on every level, what more can one expect from a gem of a song? Heaven is often the subject matter of many Gospel songs, but far too many of them are maudlin and corny. This is not the case with "Going There." The blue-collar vocal touches and the driving earthy production make heaven not only palatable but vital. Though not the strongest entry on the record, the title track "Yes" is salvaged by the quartet's spirited delivery. Much better is "All Things Good;" with its well paced melody and its thoughtful lyrics of how Romans 8:28 is more than just a mantra, this song is captivating at first listen.
The ballads are equally as impressive. Easily a fast favorite is "What He's Done for Me." The song doesn't really reinvent the wheel as it is a simple testimonial ode to how Jesus changes our lives. But the sincerity of the boys' nuances, the thoughtful uses of melodic turns, and the prayerful ambience of the entire song make this whole track sublime. Be prepared to be blown away by the gorgeous piano intro of "Give You All the Glory." And remember to have some Kleenex nearby when "Only God Knows" comes around. A pastoral offering of Godly encouragement to anyone who has been downtrodden by life, this ballad is such a lifter for the troubled soul.
The album features two unusual covers. Few Southern Gospel bands would ever think of covering Newsboys. Triumphant has done an excellent job in tackling the band's "We Believe." Rather than morphed into a Xerox copy of Newsboys, they made this great declaration of faith theirs, adding their signature harmonies to it. Similarly, Ryan Stevenson's "Eye of the Storm" really becomes their own with their more organ piano arrangements bereft of Stevenson's EDM touches. All around, save for the weaker title cut "Yes," this album is simply first class in every sense of it. When it comes to excellence, this record is a definite yes!