Noel Robinson ‘Devoted’ Review

Noel Robinson Devoted Album Review

‘Devoted’ is the first album from Noel Robinson in 7 years. Why it took so long for one of the UK’s premiere worship leaders and recording artists to release new material, I will never know but 24th June will see the release of an album that is long over due and highly anticipated.

‘Thy Kingdom Come’ gets ‘Devoted’ started with a high praise and a praising prayer asking God to let His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven. This is a rapturous, high-energy song that is easy to catch and digest which is great for congregational worship. Thematically its placement is great (setting the tone for the album) but musically the introduction could have been more grand…

‘Freedom’ is a 60’s styled song which has been executed very well in the arrangement definitely making you want to do “The Twist” or “The Mashed Potato” dances from that era. If you’re not a big fan of this style/era of music, this song may pass you by but the dynamic harmonies and general vivacity of the song make it still quite infectious.

One of my favourite songs on ‘Devoted’ is ‘Send Your Spirit’. I can hear this song being sung in churches as congregations wait on a fresh pouring out of the Holy Spirit… “Send Your Spirit now, let Your fire fall, burn our hearts anew with a Holy passion, let revival’s song, spring up, let the Holy Spirit come…” I don’t think I got through this song without replaying it… There’s a passion and fire in this song bellows out from the soul and echoes in the Heaven’s.

Lyrically, ‘I Believe’ stood out from the moment I heard it sung live years ago. I was happy that the musical arrangement got a refresh giving the song more drive, which is important in a faith building song like this… “Everyday my faith in You is renewed, nothing but Your Word is what I hold to, trusting and believing only in You, everyday my faith in You is renewed…”

‘One Faith’ has a nice vibe with an undertone of driven guitars and staccato bass lines creating the pulse of the song which has some beautiful string arrangements, intricate guitar lines and an overall Andre Crouch feel, but still sounding very unique with the addition of Faye Simpson’s vocals taking the song to another level with her smooth but powerful tone as they sang “One hope, one faith… One Father by which we are saved. One purpose, one mind, Jesus is the hope of mankind…”

‘Rain’ is a timeless song penned by Robinson and Donna Akodu… This song is POWERFUL and refreshed my Spirit as I sought God… It leads us to ask God to “Rain, rain on me. Open the windows of Heaven…” When the song gets to singing “Overflow” there’s an atmosphere change and if you want to tap into that overflow it’s possible to do so walking on the street, driving in the car or with a congregation of people.

I must admit I was a little bit disappointed by ‘I Am Devoted’ as the title track at first but it’s grown on me and is actually a beautiful love song to God speaking of our devotion to Him, Spirit, soul and body. I’m not sure if Robinson realises but he’s let us into something quite personal on this song. Listening to the lyrics, I can hear restoration from pain and a sense of gratitude that manifests itself in the desire for true intimacy with God… “I am devoted, Father, my praise belongs to You… I am devoted, Father, from my heart I want to thank you…”

‘Unshakeable’ has a chorus that is so worshipful from the melody to the lyrics. I can imagine Angel’s joining in with the majestic orchestration of the song singing… “Holy, lover of my soul, yes You are worthy, Your Word says I should stand and trust You only, what You say keeps me be believing. I want to lose myself, my all in You…”

The collaboration with Tim Hughes on ‘You Are Holy’ is refreshing as they harmonise with each other allowing us to contemplate on the meaningful lyrics… “Before the world began, You reached out Your hands to man, for the redemption of our souls…”

‘Devoted’ ends with a bang (sorry to ruin the surprise). The last 3 tracks are all great and take us into some African worship on the Robinson/Israel Houghton penned ‘Let The People Say’ which will definitely rock the house on a Sunday morning in church… I loved the addition of the Stevie Wonder-like melodic vocal lines Robinson does syncopated with the band…

My absolute favourite song on the album is ‘We Cry Hosanna’. This is the most authentic Reggae song I’ve heard a non-Reggae artist do in a very long time. From the pounding drum rhythm, the laid back (slightly off the beat) simplistic (Wailers style) bass line, horn arrangements and even the pronunciation from the singers… ‘We Cry Hosanna’ is uplifting and infectious and will have you singing “We cry hosanna, Jesus is The Lord of all. We cry hosanna, Lord we’re here to magnify Your name…” The addition of Drum ‘N’ Bass was a surprise and I loved how the 2 genres merged so well and created such a great feel.

The album ends with ‘Unity’ which see’s Robinson collaborate with Guvna B and Marion Powell for a big, punchy, tight, focused sounding song. The verses sound PHAT (musically) and it will definitely get you moving with Guvna B adding a real crossover Urban edge fusing worship and Rap which it’s great to see placed together on a song like this. It was also good to see Robinson experiment vocally and do something different with his voice and create a real stand-out, radio friendly, contemporary and cutting edge song.

‘Devoted’ is a great album with surprises around every corner… If you’re a follower of Noel Robinson and his sound, he’s captured that sound and taken it to another level… Authentically Noel Robinson but authentically fresh sounding too.

Some of the songs sound like they should have been live with crowd engagement and atmosphere but all in all ‘Devoted’ works and surpasses any other album from Robinson that I’ve heard by far. The songs are very theological and faith building and musically exhilarating to listen to.

I’ve listened to many Noel Robinson album’s and have done a lot of song skipping in past times but ‘Devoted’ is an album that I don’t need to skip through and one that gets better and better every time I listen to it.

Track List:

  • Thy Kingdom Come – feat. Lyanne Austin & Richard Butt)
  • Freedom – feat.Yolanda Antonio
  • Send Your Spirit
  • I Believe In Miracles
  • I Believe In You
  • One Hope One Faith – feat. Faye Simpson
  • Rain
  • I Am Devoted
  • I Will Worship You
  • You Loved Me
  • Unshakeable
  • You Are Holy – feat. Tim Hughes
  • Let The People Say
  • We Cry Hosanna – feat. Chevelle Franklyn
  • Unity – feat. Guvna B & Marion Powell

4.5/5

Reviewed By Matt Brooks

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