Atmospheric. Soaring. Bounding.
Upon first listen, the debut release from One Worship triggers several one-word descriptions. And with each successive listen, I find myself caught up in a worship experience that is heartfelt and passionate -an experience that keeps me coming back again and again.
“I can feel your heartbeat beat beating for us…” The opening track, “Heartbeat,” starts out with a declarative tone acknowledging that God is sovereign over us and desires us to be in His presence. Led by the soulful & commanding vocals of Dara Maclean, the song immediately grabbed my ear. Pulsating along a la Hillsong Young & Free, this song is a great option for those looking for an upbeat service opener.
On deck next is “Remain,” a driving bass-driven track which keeps the momentum going and has a strong rhythmic hook. Maclean and Michael Howell tag-team lead vocals on this one which works well. Building on the overall theme of trust & dependence on the Lord, we are challenged not just sit on the sidelines and watch, but to jump in head-first & experience God’s fullness for themselves.
Slowing things down a bit, track three is “What Love.” Here we get the vocal stylings of Howell throughout; displaying a soothing yet accessible vocal range, something which is somewhat unique in this genre (speaking on behalf of worship pastors trying to find that congregational-friendly range). Coming in at 8:48, “What Love” clocks the longest of all 11 tracks but for good reason. An extended and seemingly spontaneous worship portion erupts (love when that happens!). The words “Your love goes on forever…” remains stuck in my head long after the track ends. Hauntingly beautiful.
Anthony Skinner (Your Love Never Fails, The Sound That Saved Us All) brings the energy back up with his track “Wide Open” (co-written with Chris Quilala and Jess Cates). A simple chorus keeps this one easy to put in front of a congregation. Maclean and Skinner do a great job carrying this one. The production and arrangement are big, but everything stays true to Skinner’s original version with his Immersion Family Band, which I still totally LOVE by the way!
One Worship does a great job of not only front-loading this release with great attention-grabbing tunes but also keeping some meat and potatoes in the middle. I think it is the interchange between Skinner, Maclean, & Howell on various tunes which holds interest & keeps a forward movement going despite peaks & valleys dynamically between tracks.
From addressing Christ’s redemption on the cross (“My Victory“) to the heartfelt desire of closeness to God (“If I Could Ask“) or experiencing the goodness of God to the point of abundance (“Overflow“), there is a passion & depth here that is unique. A call for the listener to have trust God throughout every season is readily evident. And from One Worship’s own website, it is clear much thought went into every track: “One Worship is 11 original worship songs from a community of friends who are passionate about creating moments in worship where people connect with God in a deeper way.”
The reflective, finger-picked “After My Heart” closes out the disc and is one of the simplest yet most powerful tracks on the album. Written and led by Michael Howell’s son, John Michael Howell, the track is proof that the depth of a worshipper’s heart runs in the family. This is the type of song that could easily close out an intimate time of worship and could be broken down to just an acoustic guitar and a couple of vocalists.
For the worship pastor looking for new material, there is much to choose from here and the craft and talent of One Worship stands alongside other releases from big name churches such as Hillsong, Vertical Church Band, and Elevation Worship. It’s my hope that as the Gospel goes forth in song, One Worship will see the fruits of being faithful to God’s call. I for one am looking forward to what comes next from this exceptional crew!