Source of Every Hour
Artist: Cathy Burton
Label: Survivor Records
Time: 10 tracks / 40 mins
In the past, Burton has had some decent records, and has earned a high reputation amongst the British worship music sector. This release is strikingly good on the ears, the best she has ever sounded. With most of the songs upbeat ("Purify"’s rippling piano slows things down for a bit), she hits the ground running and plenty of brilliant, catchy melodies propel the disc further forward.
As her acoustic guitar starts the collection off, “Saved” sounds remarkably like Carolyn Arends, and as extra layers build around it, it catches Arends' lush and sunny sound. Discreet strings, clean guitar work, subtle ringing tones, treated harmonies, and fill-in lines that echo the melody all build on great, singable tunes.
What the comparison also reveals, though, is a raft of lyrical shortcomings. There is very little said with any freshness or depth of thought (“Let us fall to our knees, let us cling to the cross, and abandon ourselves to Jesus;” “I was made to praise and live for you;” “I will choose to praise you;” and lots of other “I will” phrases). Just scan the titles for a further clue. This is a criminal waste of the disc’s fantastic musical identity.
Some of these songs will work very well in worship slots, such as “Purify,” “Saved” and the more-ish “Great is our God,” a tune that pops into your head as regularly and welcome as a best friend’s texts. But noticeably speckled with jargon and cliché, the counts are sadly far too high to invoke full-throated worship. Don’t forget, this is someone who has written with the likes of Paul Statham (Kylie Minogue, Dido) and Ricky Ross, and penned close-to-the-bone-reality songs like “Speed your Love” and “Home”. Even songs about the cross do not really delve into its riches, but skim over the top.
What does excite me about this disc is the way that so much good stuff comes together, with very little average material to bring it down. She has never sounded this good, and neither has the delicately-placed instrumentation that shines electric candlelight on her pure, warm voice. If she branched out lyrically, this could have been really great.