Before the album was released i had already heard a buzz about E.O.W and their single ‘How Great Is He‘. The sheer amount of people taking about them intrigued the researcher in me to find out who they are and if they lived up to the ‘hype’ i was seeing on BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), face book and twitter.
The album kicks off with the lead single ‘How Great Is He’ which is surprising as you normally find the single placed a couple of tracks in and you also normally find that most albums start with a ‘bang'; usually with an up tempo song. Strangely enough the absence of the ‘bang’ isn’t noticed and instead the beautiful melody and atmospheric composition of the song automatically bring you to a place of contemplation… thinking about just how great God is.
‘Best Of Me’ is one of my favourite songs on the album. The melody is very catchy and lyrically there are some great words that have been put together that a lot of people will be able to relate to. “Ready to throw in the towel, want to continue but don’t know how…” is a lyric that definitely stands out to me. This song really has the sing-a-long factor. The vocals are very heart-felt and Israel Tomlinson delivers, sounding raspy at times but on this song i can hear a connection with him and the song that he also wrote along with Susan Kisakye.
There’s only one word that i can use to describe the title track ‘Spirit Of Praise’ and that is fresh. At first it sounds like it’s going to be a soft more acoustic sounding song and then the vocals come in strong and then the beat drops immediately proving me wrong and bringing a mix of the CCM sound, with a traditional choral harmony sound and an urban/hip hop styled beat. This song comes into it’s own with the rap by Lionel McNiel and the outro/vamp “Release yourself, release yourself, release yourself with a praise…”
Another stand-out song is ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ which can seem repetitive at times but this may not be a bad thing as i find myself singing the lyrics “I will not conform, i will be transformed, to your word oh Lord, i submit my all” at least once a day. This song was written by Paul Anthony Clarke (known to many as Pastor Tony) who wrote approx 95% of the album according to the credits.
‘Medley (He Is Here, Consume Me, I Need You)’ is an awesome worship medley that i found myself turning to a lot during the course of reviewing this album when i was having times of devotion. This medley works as a devotional aid and for when you want to soak in the presence of God.
All in all ‘Spirit Of Praise’ is album that is really hard to put into a box. It doesn’t fit a genre or style but somehow fuses them all in a way that makes each song transcend age, ethnicity or anything else that could confine it… There’s even a ‘funky’ surprise at the end. It’s E.O.W’s debut album and you can tell this when listening to the overall production of it but if this is their starting point; they’ve started well and have certainly made an impression on the UK music scene and most certainly with me.
Reviewed By Matt Brooks