Music Review: Martin Smith – Back To The Start: Starting Orders, Or Polishing The Dancefloor

April 10, 2016

 By BRUCE DENNILL

 

Martin Smith: Back To The Start

 

Fans of popular English worship and contemporary Christian music band Delirious will be chuffed to see that that outfit’s singer and chief songwriter Martin Smith is not only still making music but doing so prolifically and at a level comparable to his best work with his old collective. This is his second solo album since Delirious was declared over, and it contains references to its predecessor, God’s Great Dance Floor, by including that album’s title track as a bonus here and sampling excerpts from the same song in the title track to this new album. Back To The Start (the song) sets the bar high here, a slow-building six-and-a-half minute anthem that announces Martin Smith (present) as a musical amalgam of all the Martin Smiths that have popped up over the years, making the title particularly (and profoundly) apposite.

Emmanuel shows off a couple of neat songwriting tricks, adding electronica and beats to appeal to a younger audience than Smith’s peer group and also using a minor key to help convey a positive message, which initially feels counter-intuitive but very quickly settles into a listener sweet spot. Speaking of which: Waiting Here For You is already a huge hit/congregational success story (depending on where on the Awkward Christian Acclamation Scale you are) and both deservedly and unsurprisingly so. It’s a superbly written song (Smith collaborates with crack team Chris Tomlin and Jesse Reeves on that score) and is performed with unmistakable passion – sometimes the missing ingredient in the effective communication of a heartfelt message.

Grace is another tune that’s already embedded in the collective CCM listenership psyche, courtesy of co-writer Michael W Smith already having recorded a much-admired version of his own. This strategy – to work together on the creation of the resources and then to give them the widest possible audience by putting pride and professional pettiness aside and distributing them via different channels.

Great Is Your Faithfulness takes the title of an old worship chorus and adds it to a composition that features both yearning and powerful rock dynamics, while Awake My Soul is a bouncy, acoustic guitar-led tune with a happy heart. Swinging to the other end of the emotional scale, Smith takes on a more mature stance in the sincere, seeking Song Of Solomon, the only song on the album written by Smith alone and perhaps for that reason one of the most openly candid.

 

  • Back To The Start                                                       7.25
  • Emmanuel                                                                  7.25
  • Fire Never Sleeps                                                       6.75
  • Waiting Here For You (feat. Sarah Bird)`                   8.75
  • You Are My Salvation                                                7.50
  • Grace                                                                         8.00
  • Only Got Eyes                                                            6.00
  • Great Is Your Faithfulness                                          7.50
  • Redemption Day                                                        6.00
  • Awake My Soul                                                          7.00
  • Song Of Solomon                                                      8.00
  • Shepherd Boy                                                            7.25
  • God’s Great Dance Floor (feat. Anna Smith)              6.00

Rating: 7.173

 


 

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