I loved reviewing London based Christian movement, Worship Centrals’ third live album, Set Apart. The album, which was recorded in 2014 at Hillsong’s Warehouse Project in London features worship leaders Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon, Luke and Anna Hellebronth and Karen Gillespie.
With the sole mandate and desire to see the worship of Jesus Christ made central throughout the world, the Worship Central movement has certainly been making an impact in worship circles worldwide, most recently with its 100 Gatherings initiative which saw 100 worship gatherings taking place across the globe over the period of a week, as reported by Gateway News.
Co-founder and director, Tim Hughes, has shared that he believes that worship is more than just the songs we sing. “If we let the song become the king, then worship becomes more about what we can create and less about our response to God’s initiating love and glory,” he explained. And this is evident in his passion to see and facilitate the growth of worship services across England and the world.
With all of this in mind, I listened to the new album full of expectancy, knowing that these guys are the real thing! I was not disappointed and found the album to be exactly what one would expect from a current Christian band/worship collective – electric guitars, easy melodies, lots of anthems and a few really groovy congregational songs that can be added to many a set list.
Album opener, “The Way” is led by frontman Tim Hughes and is an array of synth and electronics with an easy to sing chorus speaking about Jesus being the way. Listening to this song took me back to my youth days, strobe lights and wearing neon coloured clothing. I love that it’s a party – because, hey, we have a lot to celebrate!
Anthem, “Stand up” also peaked my attention with its catchy hook ‘When we don’t know what to do/what to do/our eyes will be fixed on you/fixed on you!’ Lead by Luke Hellebronth, this song urges the congregation to set their eyes on the Lord.
Judging by their response on social media platforms, Worship Central music fans seem to really love “Can’t stop Your love”– an anthemy song lead by Ben Cantelon. The track has a strong chorus, which is a really catchy chant taken from Psalm 139: ‘Where can I go/Where can I go/From Your presence/In Your light I am known/I’m surrounded/I will not walk alone.’ This is one of those songs that you can’t get out of your head after a few listens!
I found a favourite in “Awsome is He” which features the amazing Anna Hellebronth. It is a mid-tempo congregational song which encourages the listener to rise up and worship our great God. When you get your hands on this album and you’re wondering where to start, I would say start here. After having a listen to the entire CD the very first time this is the song that made me go back again.
In my most humble opinion, the worship ballad titled “Worth it all”, led by Cantelon, is one of the best worship songs on this album. I love the wordy bridge that builds into a crescendo with Cantelon declaring that Jesus is “worth it all!”
I also enjoyed the likable melodies of “Enough light” and “Let go” – both modern sounding tracks with easy to learn choruses. I think they would make for excellent introductions to Youth service worship sets. But I must share that the ultimate winner on this album, for me, was Karen Gillespies “Singing over us.”The chorus very simply sings: “For You care for us/For You care for us/You are singing over us/With Your love.” I think that the combo of uncomplicated, honest lyric coupled with an awsome synth, won me over! The song ends by transitioning into a spontaneous worship session with Tim Hughes who begins to sing the song of the Lord. Wow! It is so aptly named“Wide open space” and Hughes sings about the love of the Father and how God is calling us to be His Good News.
In a nutshell, this is a ‘typical’ modern worship album, which would be an asset to anyone’s collection. After a few listens, it totally grew on me and since it has an up-to-date sound that is similar to some of the stuff that we enjoy (as a family), it was easy to introduce this album to our play list in the car. Two thumbs up!
This review was originally written for and published in Gateway News