Prime Cuts: Until You Do, Build My Life, This is Love
Overall Grade: 4/5
More and more worship albums take a self-manifesto turn, where songs are no longer for the church to sing corporately. Rather, they become avenues for songwriters to vent their frustrations, fears, and insecurities to God. Biblically such expressions are not wrong, as many of the psalms fall into such a sub-genre. However, what's missing are those majestic moment where people forget about their own weals and woes and focus squarely on God exalting his grace and redemption. New Wine Worship's "This is Love" has lots of moments like these. None of these songs make you feel like you are an outsider listening in to someone describing his or her testimony. Rather, the songs invite us to join in as they collectively draw us to God not just as individuals but as the church.
New Wine Worship is the worship ministry of the New Wine churches of England. Recorded at regional conferences held in three different U.K. cities earlier this year, the project features songs led by the New Wine Worship team of Chris Lawson Jones, Nick Herbert, Lauren Harris, Chris Lawson Jones, Tom Read, Abi Johnson and Alfred Nygren.
The album starts off with stately "All Blessing." The bouncy metallic sounding percussion undergirding a cool mid-tempo melody makes "All Blessing" a delight to listen to. Moreover, the song eschews the loud stadium rock sound that normally opens a standard worship album. Yet, it still bristles with passion befitting of an excellent worship opener. Title track "This is Love" is a superior worship ballad that revisits the purpose of Christ's sacrifice with lots of visceral affections. At the height of celebrating our Savior's love, the team segues into a rousing rendition of the Wesleyan hymn "And Can It be," which is nothing short of breathtaking.
While many worship teams are overzealous to promote their own originals, New Wine Worship is more interested in helping us to worship. This means even covering songs they did not write. Their take of Pat Barrett's "Build My Life" is rich with lots of forethought, warmth and reflection. Similarly their rendition of Bethel Music's ever popular "Raise a Hallelujah" really get us singing, clapping and shouting with the team "sing a little louder...". Not to be missed is the album's apotheosis --- the awesome ballad "Until You Do." A song about trusting God even when there are no answers, this song drips with so much faith that it is contagious. If you are in your season of waiting, sing this song again and again and you will feel your faith growing.
However, the reason why this album is discounted from its 5 star-rating is that there are a few disappointments. "Come, Holy Spirit," "Set a Fire," and "Be Still," as their titulars suggest, are not the most original pieces musically and lyrically. They are okay without sounding exceptional. Nevertheless, this is a stellar worship album. Many of these songs not only are gorgeous to listen to but they draw us in to worship. Ultimately, this is what worship albums are for; and to this end, New Wine Worship delivers.