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  David Crowder Band
Label: six steps Records
URL: <http://www.davidcrowderband.com/>
Times: 16 tracks/56:19 minutes

The David Crowder Band came seemingly out of nowhere last year to deliver -- in my humble estimation -- the album of 2002, with its sublime effort, Can You Hear Us? That particular project facilitated a personal breakthrough in my own perspective on worship and a change in mindset about what can be achieved with God-centered rock music.

So how do you follow up the album of the year? Easy, you shine!

"This is a recording about light," Crowder informs us in the press release accompanying _Illuminate_, and throughout this illuminating (apologies) record, Crowder and his partners viz. Jack Parker (guitars/electronics), Jason Solley (guitars), Hogan (violin/programming), Jeremy Bush (drums) and Mike D (bass) follow through this basic premise with thrilling impact!

From the sound of matches catching fire on the intro of "Revolutionary Love," the album fairly lifts off and hardly pauses for breath except for the deliberately quieter moments Crowder sprinkles amongst the high-octane material. The album really takes off with the triple whammy of the jazz-funky "Intoxicating," the energizing "How Great," and the powerfully anthemic "No One Like You," where the band truly aligns its holistic worship ideals with the uplifting attribute of rock music.

Crowder's lyrical strengths come to the fore, expressing his love for Jesus simply without affectation. To wit:

It's so amazing, Your unchanging love.
O Praise Him, He is Holy
There's no one like You, there has never been anyone like You
La la dee da!
Of particular interest is Crowder's decision to cover "Deliver Me" from Phantom of the Opera in an attempt to "redeem" the song in the same manner as with Sinead O'Connor's "Thank You" with less satisfying results, it must be said.

As with Can You Hear Us?, Illuminate is an important milestone for God-centric rock music as it proves that worship music need not be bandwagonesque or impersonal or lacking in artistic depth.

Kevin Mathews  12/6/2003

   
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