By BRUCE DENNILL
Third Day: Lead Us Back – Songs Of Worship (Deluxe Edition)
Some of Third Day’s biggest releases have been worship and live albums, and this Deluxe Edition of their latest collection combines both. The first of the two discs is comprises new, original worship material, while the second includes a couple of extra studio tracks alongside eight live performances.
The project starts with Spirit, a refrain that sounds like the best of Jonathan Stockstill, perhaps the only other singer who comes close to matching Mac Powell’s low-pitched power. Singalong single Soul On Fire features All Sons & Daughters and borrows that duo’s nu-folk approach, which in turn sits comfortably within the greater (and ongoing) roots music revival. ASAD also contribute memorably to The One I Love, which closes the first disc.
The general theme in arrangement terms is simplicity, which works well, as Third Day is, technically, an top-notch outfit and the solid musical foundations built here leave room for (and don’t detract from) the spiritual input and the energy generated between Powell and the variety of guest singers (high-profile collaborators such as Michael W Smith as well as potent but sometimes uncredited backing vocals). The experience and intelligence behind the songwriting become slowly evident as you give the album repeated spins: the complexity is in the songs’ creation, rather than in their execution.
There is, alongside the acoustic instrumentation, an occasional dip into electronica and synthesised sounds, which generally make for relatively less powerful compositions, including He Is Alive (not as impressive musically, but still an excellent candidate for congregational use).
The collection is not sequenced to suggest a church worship set as is the case with some similar projects, though there are dynamics to the tracklisting as well as the individual songs, with the title track being quieter than those that surround it, and also shorter – a strange inclusion in some ways.
This is not the sound of a rock band – Which Third Day unquestionably is – going full tilt, with everything plugged in and turned up. But it has a consistency of approach that ties everything together, and there’s a good balance between creative and straight-ahead message lyrics.
The live tracks – a mix of new and old – showcase an outfit that’s supremely comfortable in a live context. At 22 tracks, with hardly a weak moment, Lead Us Back: Deluxe Edition is a formidable concoction.
Soul On Fire 8.25
Your Words 8.25
Our Deliverer 7.25
He Is Alive 6.75
In Jesus Name 7.50
Lead Us Back 6.00
I Know You Can 6.50
Father Of Lights 7.50
The One I Love 7.50
Praise The Invisible 7.00
Your Love Is Like A River (Live) 7.00
Mountain Of God (Live) 7.25
Born Again (Live) 6.25
Soul On Fire (Live) 7.50
Children Of God (Live) 7.75
Offering (Live) 7.00
Trust In Jesus (Live) 7.25
Follow Me There (Live) 7.25