This debut album from Ike Ndolo is an interesting mix of quiet, passionate praise and worship songs spiced up with the occasional rock song. The lyrics tend to be simple but that is not necessarily to their detriment. After listening to the CD several times I found, to my surprise, that the louder rock anthems I originally liked best were not what grabbed my mind's ear as I would catch myself humming some of the straight forward songs. This is despite the fact that, although the album is well produced, it tends to be a bit conventional in places with musical changes predictable to anyone who has heard much praise and worship music. This is not the case in every song but it is there.
Ndolo's talent is obvious and although the album is being marketed to the youth group demographic there is much here to recommend it to all ages, especially considering that older listeners are usually well attuned to appreciate the passion of an electric guitar.
My personal favorite was Wade in the Water which instantly went into my God Mix playlist. An adaptation of an old spiritual, this song broke the more conventional sounds of the other songs and the hint of banjo in the background speaks to Ndolo's self professed love of bluegrass (which we share). My interpretation is that this might be more to Ndolo's personal taste and I hope that future albums will see the producers let this talented young artist break free from convention a bit more and trust his own musical inclinations.
Tom's pronouncement: "Solid." High praise indeed from someone who is all about the music and not moved much by praise and worship music unless it is good music in itself.
Definitely recommended. It is a bit late to get this for Christmas unless the local Christian store is lucky enough to have it on hand. However, it would be a great way to spend that Christmas cash if you are looking for a way to lift your heart in praise of God. (Although now that I think of it, you can download the mp3s instantly. I tend to forget that, preferring to have an actual CD in my hands.)
You can hear samples and order the album here. I received this CD as a review piece but would give it the same rating regardless.