Missed Delirious?? You will probably enjoy this one.

Label: Gloworks (via Integrity)
Time: 13 tracks / 73 minutes

He’s back!

Martin Smith’s God’s Great Dance Floor years seemed to be a bit of a treading water phase, and his more impressive Army of Bones spell looked like an experiment to see how well his material could cut it without the ‘worship’ label plastered all over the front, but the impression from this album is that he is continuing now where Delirious? left off (at least in terms of sound).

This is a live album in the best sense, which is that you rarely hear the audience singing along and slowing things down, and it has the energy of a musician interacting with the crowd, letting that excitement come through in the music.

Frankly, it sounds just like live Delirious? and in my book, that is A Good Thing.

A truly global album, the idea is that this release captures live tracks from various venues around the world. It took eighteen months and eleven cities from all five major continents to put the thirteen tracks together (note: my digital press copy only had twelve tracks, missing an apparent "Ecclesiastes," recorded in the UK).

There is a highly emotional base to this set. It rarely touches the depth and detail that you find in his erstwhile guitarist colleague Stu Garrard’s Beatitudes project, but Holly Roe’s rapping that pops up in “Leap of Faith” provides some of the richness.

These songs of prayerful adoration, need and dedication, such as “Song of Solomon” and “Jesus Only You,” with its refrain, “You will always have my heart,” are delivered with trademark passion.

Like with that earlier band, we get plenty of chiming guitar and extended tracks that live in their own moments, such as the largely instrumental section, “Veni, Sancte Spiritus” or “The Chains Falling,” which is virtually the only lyric in the brooding, reverbed one-chord piece.

The title track is just the last couplet and a chorus from the Army of Bones song, and serves as an introduction that leads straight into “Come Holy Spirit,” a request for the Holy Spirit to inhabit the evening and set the church on fire again.

During “God’s Great Dance Floor,” which nudges the singer’s sound more into this century, Smith mentions the story of the Lost Son and asks the crowd, “Anybody here know what it feels like to come home?” This track certainly celebrates coming alive through God’s grace.

Delirious? get a brief nod with a chorus of “Majesty” turning “Waiting Here for You” into a medley.

This is largely new material, but very much in the spirit of the old and it has plenty to commend it.

Derek Walker