God's Great Dance Floor step 2Smith twirls in various directions, but it's almost Delirious? - and better than their World Service era.

Label: GloWorks
Time: 11 Tracks / 52 minutes

This album is a collection of almosts. Plainly, as the voice of Delirious?, it is going to sound almost like them. The branding of Smith's solos work over the last couple of years as God's Great Dance Floor suggests EDM, but it only slightly touches on dance music (flavours of it undergird "Only Got Eyes") so it is almost 'almost dance music.' This collection comprises the third and fourth EPs that he put out, plus a couple of extras, so it's almost new. And it is 'all most'ly like what he has done before.

Then there is his visual re-interpretation. The new bequiffed look is trendy – and he has every right to look how he wants – but it does make me wonder whether he would have changed the look if he were, say, a plumber rather than a singer. In other words, it asks about his authenticity and whether he is almost being himself, but not quite.

Now let's get the band thing out of the way. Yes, I felt that he broke up the band at the wrong time. After a few years of taking an easy route to being Delirious? – that of straightforward praise music – they woke up to the call of justice and released an album that questioned our consumption and who pays the price. It was like they were re-envisioned and freshly alive. Then Smith broke the band up before either fans or the other members wanted it to end.

Since then, the drive has gone. Garrard and Thatcher helped form One Sonic Society, which weakly aped the rest of the CCM genre; and Smith's first drip-fed solo tracks sounded like thin copies of what he had done before. Opener "You are My Salvation" still does.

But hearing this collection as a whole, it is far better than initial impressions suggested and very well produced. I'm not sure whether I am affected by familiarity, but the strongest tracks seem to be new versions of his old co-writes with Tim Hughes "Keep the Faith" and "God is Coming." His take on Michael W. Smith's "Grace" sounds like it was one of his own tracks, but he has wrapped a symphonic, widescreen sheen around its thankful and humble core. The grateful "Emmanuel" shares its humility, while the arena-ready "Redemption Day" shares its polish.

Solo work has freed Smith from having to squeeze into a band sound and the title track's disco feel works with the theme and varies the mood.

I rate this far higher than the flabby Delirious? years (World Service, Mission Bell). However, it is still playing safe to an audience that is hardly renowned for stepping out. I'll almost give it 4 tocks.

Derek Walker

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