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  World Service
Artist: Delirious? 
Label: Furious? Records

Very few bands in the world can pop up rock music like Delirious? Here are twelve more tracks that in a world without prejudice would be as all over the radio as much as anything else released this year. What Delirious? does they do deliriously well. Wonderful melodies, great song structures with memorable riffs, brilliantly executed. They rock you to the core. It is inspirational, celebratory, and out of the rhythm of modern glum rock with an almost 100% positivity. “Rain Down” and “Everyone Knows” are impossible not to go on singing all day long.

For too long they tried to please everybody. At last they have decided that they don’t need anyone’s affirmation but their own and I guess in the life of faith these guys inhabit gods. As they say on “Free,” “I am free to be the man you want me to be/I’m alive when I’m alive in you.” Caught between whether they were the frontrunners in worship music exploring new territories or a rock band trying to squeeze Jesus into the pop charts, they have at last got comfortable with themselves and World Service sees a band no longer striving but doing what they do best. There are fewer hints at who they are trying to copycat to be relevant in HMV and you get the feeling that they are a band who have relaxed and we are all going to reap the benefit. This is not a worship album strategically placed between two chart attempts as Glo was between Mezzamorphis and Audio Lessonover? This is the bringing together of the two Delirious?’s not as they think they should be but just as they are. That in itself is a practical outworking of the message of the songs’ grace!

Yet, still as with most Delirious? albums, I am feeling left just that little bit short. The difference with World Service is that at last I know where the problem lies. It lies with those that Delirious? no longer need to please--including me. The only thing that is at fault in this album are my expectations and whims. I am still a little confused at the repetitiousness of God-focused rock. There have been a million new worship songs in the past ten years but only about two ideas and twenty different lines. Poetically, there is a dearth of new ideas. It all seems as if we find a new tune and shuffle the words like a deck of cards and then churn it out. I guess my challenge to the D:boys would have to be to do with the lyric what they do so well with the tune; move it on.

And there are more than enough signs that they can do just that. From track nine, the poignant piano led “Mountains High” about the loss of a close friend, to the end we get a little more mood and the final track, “Every Little Things,” “I built my house where the ocean meets the land/its time to live again/Pull my dreams out of the sand,” shows a dexterity of words that we need to replace the recurring words that are in danger of being worn out. There are more than few repeats of phrase and couplet here; fire and free, water images like rivers and rain and that we were lost and now were found. They are words that seem to buzz in the heart and souls of the supposedly free worshipping generation but just now it seems that they are a little trapped in a narrow tradition of song types and word use. 

Again, I need to say that this is my own personal frustration. As someone who preaches and teaches, I am longing for songs that will lead us into that place of intimate connection where a Biblical plethora of issues might be sung about and where new angles on the old, old story will open up truth to captivate us afresh. This is an album that I come away from with a wide, wide smile on my soul but cerebrally not very challenged. Maybe that is what Delirious? is about. If it is fair play to them; they do it better than anyone else.
 
Steve Stockman  12/8/2003
 
 

Steve Stockman is the Presbyterian Chaplain at Queens University, Belfast, Ireland, where he lives in community with 88 students. He has just finished a book on U2, Walk On; The Spiritual Journey of U2, is the poetic half of Stevenson and Samuel who have just released their debut album Gracenotes, and he has a weekly radio show on BBC Radio Ulster (listen anytime of day or night @ www.bbc.co.uk/ni/religion/rhythmandsoul). He has his own web page--Rhythms of Redemption at http://stocki.ni.org. He also tries to spend some time with his wife Janice and daughters Caitlin and Jasmine. 

 
   
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