Cutting Edge 
Artist: delirious? aka Cutting Edge Band 
Label: Furious?/ US Distributed by Sparrow Records 
Time: 25 tracks/120:24 

Before there was a delirious?, there was a youth worship event called Cutting Edge (not too far from where I sit and write).  Cutting Edge had a house band called, creatively enough, The Cutting Edge Band. Before changing their name to delirious?, the Cutting Edge Band made four recordings called the Cutting Edge tapes. What happened afterwards is British CCM history, but these recordings have been re-mastered and re-packaged and appear now as a double album to introduce the American Christian audience to delirious?.  

The first CD supplied here contains volumes one and two of these releases. Compared with the delirious? sounds of today they sound much more like a good, if a little typical, worship band, but put it in the context of a few years ago and this was new stuff. Songs like "Lord You Have My Heart," "Thank You for Saving Me," and "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever" have  lost none of their timeless intimacy.  

    Over the mountains and the sea,  
    your river runs with love for me,  
    and I will open up my heart and let the healer set me free.  
    I'm happy to be in the truth,  
    and I will daily lift my hands:  
    for I will always sing of when your love came down  
    (from "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever")
"Happy Song" was for a long time a live favourite in the delirious? set, and here it is given something of a southern-rock sound, with a tasty guitar solo from Stuart Garrard (Stu G to the initiated) and plenty of harmonica. The lyrics may seem a little cheesy at times, and they're not something I could sing all the time, but there is a place for them.  
    Oh I could sing unending songs  
    Of how you saved my soul  
    And I could dance a thousand miles  
    Because of your great love  
The band is joined by quite a number of guest musicians, including Dave Clifton on electric guitar, Vanessa Gibbs and Helen Burgess on backing vocals for tracks 1-6, Terl Bryant on percussion for tracks 7-12, and Jenny Legg on backing vocals for tracks 7-12. Some of the backing vocals sound a little overdone to me; they are well-sung but a bit overpowering and inappropriate in places.  

It is interesting to hear some of the songs that haven't stood the test of time, or are played very differently now.  For example, "The Crucible for Silver" is here given a faster arrangement than when played now (I prefer the current version).  Tracks 10 and 12 point the most to the modern delirious? sound, but the vibey guitar sounds haven't fully developed.  Already there is the nod of the head to U2, and Martin Smith's distinctive vocals, but the sound is still closer to a more exuberant Matt Redman than the modern delirious?  

Disc two shows the real development of delirious?, kicking off with "Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble," the most popular pre-King of Fools track (according to a poll on a website, and general observations). This recording of the song has a big sound, with a good bit of reverb on the drums and spacious keyboard backing to the rhythmic guitars. "I've Found Jesus" is another song which is still a mainstay of many youth worship events. In some ways the lyrics are simplistic, but they are aided by passion and the beginnings of the characteristic guitar vibes.  

    Well I hear they're singing in the streets that  
    Jesus is alive,  
    And all creation shouts aloud that  
    Jesus is alive  
    Now surely we can all be changed 'cos  
    Jesus is alive  
    And everybody here can know that  
    Jesus is alive
The next two tracks don't stand out as strongly, but "I'm Not Ashamed (of the gospel)" is probably the clearest pointer to the live strength of the band and is yet another live favourite (and one that still lives on in their live set).  

"Find Me in the River" is a gorgeous mellow number, with our introduction to Stu G's e-bow, which sounds at times almost Iona-esque. The song is far from Iona, though, with a more intimate sound backing confessional lyrics of commitment.  

    Find me in the river  
    Find me on my knees  
    I've walked against the water  
    Now I'm waiting if you please  

    We've longed to see the roses  
    But never felt the thorns  
    And brought our pretty crowns  
    But never paid the price  

    Find me in the river  
    Find me there  
    Find me on my knees with my soul laid bare  
    Even though you're gone and I'm cracked and dry  
       
    Find me in the river, I'm waiting here

After the sing-along chorus of "Louder Than the Radio," "You Split the Earth" has vocal backing similar to some of the vocals on James's "She's a Star" single.  

"Obsession" continues the musical ideas first picked up in "Find Me in the River," with loads of e-bow and some guitar work that does sound very, very Iona-esque. Jon Thatcher's bass comes through loud and deep, and this is one to play loud with the lights off.  

The second disc in this set is definitely the stronger, and a good primer for the delirious? of today. There are some excellent worship songs, the guitars are turned up a little louder, and the passion is clearer. Overall I would recommend listening to this disc if you want a taste of the newer worship music in the UK, as the earlier one isn't nearly as strong (but they both have some good songs).  delirious? hadn't quite come of age with these recordings, and I'm not sure that King of Fools reached that either, but it is an interesting process watching their development.  

By James Stewart 

1 clock(3.5 for the second disc) 

 

Since 1992 Delirious? has been revolutionizing the Christian music scene in England with their unique brand of worship and praise.  What started out in 1992 as a small group of people gathering to worship Christ, known as Cutting Edge, has now grown into a movement that is on it's way to changing the way "church music" is played.  The band has finally arrived in the U.S. with their debut release Cutting Edge  This is a two CD package containing many of  their songs made popular from 1992-95.  For a time of praise to the Creator, you could not ask for more inspiring music.  From the anthemic "Did You Hear the Mountains Tremble" to the soul-baring "Find Me in the River," the driving "Louder Than the Radio" to the sheer joy in Christ of "The Happy Song," it is obvious from the start that Delirious? is a group of guys who love the Lord and find joy in making music unto Him. 

From the very beginning, the band is up front and honest about its purpose. "The Message of the Cross" reminds us of what Jesus has done for us by His work on the cross. 
 
      This is the messge of the cross, that we can be free 
      To lay all our burdens here, at the foot of the tree 
      The Cross was the shame of the world, but the glory of God 
      For Jesus You conquered sin and You gave us new life. 
 
"Singers Song" is simply a song of praise and adoration to Jesus, while "Lord You Have My Heart" is a more contemplative look at our need for Christ. With an acoustic rock sound the band shifts gears back and forth between upbeat, lively worship songs and thoughtful, searching ballads.    
 
Disc two starts out with the majestic "Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble," a song that picks the listener up and sets him at the feet of the heavenly throne, worshipping God and singing praises to His name. This is the height of worship music--music that takes us out of ourselves and into the presence of God.  This song does just that.  Lead singer Martin Smith starts out slowly with this one,  building in intensity, until, reaching the chorus, he is joined by a number of voices singing in joy to the Lord. 
 
      Open up the doors and 
      Let the music play 
      Let the streets resound with singing 
      Songs that bring Your hope 
      Songs that bring Your joy 
      Dancers who dance upon injustice 
 
This is a song that stays with the listener long after the last notes have been played. 
  
One can't help but wonder what the band is like live.  There are several moments in these songs when they seem to want to break out into spontaneous worship, something that is not possible in a studio recording but would be very possible in a concert setting.  Thus, often these songs come off as being a bit repetitive.  But that is sometimes the nature of worship as we meditate upon our love for God and His love for us.   
 
The songs of Cutting Edge call the listener into an honest and deep relationship with God.  This is praise and worship music at its finest. 

By Janet Friesen