Israel Houghton is back with his power team of Aaron Lindsey and Tommy Sims et al, and not too long after Power of One, which was the comment I got from most people that I told that Israel had a new album. As they say here in Singapore – “orreddy aahh?!”
As the subtitle states, these are the “London Sessions” recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studios. There are moments when that British classic sound are evident like on the ska-fused “You Won’t Let Go”. But as with Israel’s studio projects in the past like “Real” and “Power of One”, the genre’s are best left bent waaaay out of shape. Whether it’s the go-go feel on “Yahweh” and “Mercies” with Kirk Franklin, or the worship journeys through choral and Take 6 infused “Hosanna”, or the Blues influenced “Love Rev”, or the praise BBQ anthem “That’s Why I Love You” – Israel Houghton manages to bring unity around the songs through his beautiful messages and themes of God exaltation and compassion for others.
Like most albums like this, it may take a few listens right through to let the songs sink in – by most standards, this album is definitely packed with a lot of substance. Not as many easily memorable songs on this one at first bat, but let me just say, I got the album earlier today, and off the cuff my favourites at first to third listen are the worshipful “You Hold My World” and “Surprises” which features a young sounding Fred Hammond and an arrangement which, as I said on my twitter account, is what my worship sessions with God usually sound like as far as arrangement and the presence-seeking feel of the song. This though is probably Israel’s most complex and intricate project to date, and I like it that way!
I wouldn’t go to this Israel joint off the bat looking for worship songs for your congregation like you may have in past, if your church isn’t prepared to get a little more complex than usual musically and even lyrically, unless they want to do the crunk version of Tomlin/Redman’s “Our God”, “You Hold My World” or “Hosanna”. But I personally would be singing songs like “You Hold My World”, “Surprises” and “Others” and the like in my own worship time with God. A wonderful album from your favourite worship guys’ favourite worship guy.