Thanks to Shannon Lewis and Gary Durbin for providing their insights and perspectives on ALM’s newest release, Above All Names.
As much as I’m not a fan-boy of the “trendy” sound, there are times when I’ve got to admit: sometimes following the trends just works. Case in point; ALM UK. Within seconds of the first track starting there is an immediate sense of familiarity, which for the majority of music listeners means that – right out of the box – it is largely appealing.
Right off the block, “Great and Glorious” showcases sharp, crisp studio production (no live worship recording here folks), and a memorable, anthemic chorus to boot. Immediately following is probably the catchiest of the album’s rockers, “God is for Us”, which melodically moves like much of Duran Duran’s best work, while still sounding like it was recorded by Hillsong United. On top of that, the lyrics are encouraging, and inspiring – a great anthem for the church. From there, NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES begins to lose steam, though there are still a few useful corporate songs to come: the title track would be almost immediately singable for any congregation, and though not quite as simple and melodic, “My God Reigns” also stands out as a beautiful proclamation of God’s authority and power. Like much of the newer worship released today, the ballads all feature atmospheric keys and guitar beds, and move towards a slow, triumphant build.
In summary, if Hillsong, Generation Unleashed, & Planetshakers aren’t pumping out new worship records quickly enough for you, you’ve got another favorite band to add to the mix. Though they won’t be changing the face of corporate worship anytime soon, they have a release a well produced collection of songs, a number of which could easily be added to a church’s repertoire.
Over all, I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. For a taste of the CD, download “Great and Glorious”, “God is for Us”, “Name above all Names”, and “My God Reigns”.
ALM;uk or Abundant Life Ministries is a multi-cultural church based in Bradford, England.
The debut CD from ALM:uk, Name Above All Names definitely resonates with me as a worship leader in the local church. Writing songs for the church is definitely a completely different mind set than writing songs for the radio. This album definitely is excellent in musicality and in the heart of worship. Matt Hooper, one of the worship leader’s at ALM, says, “Our heart and our mission behind our album is to provide great congregational songs that help the local church and their worship teams connect with God in a really strong, faith-filled and practical way.”
On this 10 track release there were some great, fresh songs for the local church. The opening track, “Great and Glorious” was a great way to kick off the album. It had a lot of energy. The song that stuck in my head immediately was “God is For Us”. I found myself singing the hook of the chorus throughout the day. I still hear it. Great scripture for congregations to sing. My favorite song was “Be Glorified”. It was one of those songs that grabbed me emotionally. Incredibly well-written, Christ-centered ballad of worship. My only criticism is of the title track, “Name Above All Names”. It’s a great song, but every time I heard the chorus, all I could think of was “You’ll Be In My Heart” by Phil Collins from the Tarzan movie. Great melody, but unintentionally borrowed. As a songwriter, I’m always trying to guard against that. It can be a difficult task to come up with fresh, yet simple melodies. I also really liked the song, “My God Reigns”. That is another one that will be filling worship services, I’m sure.
All in all, this a great worship project from a band that obviously has a heart for God and the Church. Great job ALM & Integrity!!
iTunes: Name Above All Names by ALM:uk