tye greaterThanThe unpredictable Tye Tribbet gets a little churchy on Greater Than.....

Greater Than
Tye Tribbett
Label: Motown Gospel
Time: 13 tracks / 74:32 minutes

The unpredictable Tye Tribbett is back with Greater Than - a project that can best be described as a worship album with a Tye twist. Victory Live (2006) and Stand Out! (2008) each featured Tribbett's ensemble, Greater Anointing, in a live concert setting and were characterized by a manic energy, unique, crisp arrangements, stunning instrumental work, and Tribbett's irresistibly quirky, dynamic persona. The confessional, almost therapeutic Fresh followed in 2010 – a 'solo' project that broke all of the rules of the gospel genre, featuring creative production, unique arrangements and distinctly out-of-the-box songwriting and performance. Greater Than is Tye getting his feet back on solid ground – a more accessible work, even including some covers of familiar Praise and Worship songs.

Greater Than feels like a new launching pad for a fresh, renewed Tye Tribbett. Somewhere between the intensity of his previous project and the explosive jams of his work with Greater Anointing, the new solo artist version of Tribbett offers instead some high-energy church – a generous 72 and a-half minutes of what your worship service might sound like if you went to the coolest church in the neighborhood.

Thankfully, Tribbett couldn't resist throwing in a little Gospel-fusion on tracks like "Better," and infused some of his unique melodic twists into "He Did it Before ...Same God," which otherwise would have been just another gospel 'praise breakdown' – albeit one much funkier than usual. The delightful allusion to the chorus of the George Harrison hit, "Got My Mind Set On You" (which, by the way, was a cover and not written by the former Beatle), was a nice surprise on "Stayed On You" - a call and response worship song for a new generation of worshipers.

The title track is an effective duet with Tye teaming up with Zacardi Cortez on vocals. The familiar "Overcome' gets a Tye make-over that brings a new coloring to the song and lets us hear it in a fresh way. More predictable is the over-long "Worship Medley," which had me waiting for more pure Tribbett material.

Once again, Tribbett is recorded live – although the sound and production is so clean that it's only the tell-tale signs of crowd noise at the beginning or end of a song that might give that away. In fact, there seems to be quite a bit of after-the-fact studio sweetening on tracks like "You Are Everything," which has an abundance of electronics and over-polished background vocals, with the 'live' ambiance only coming at the end of the song.

The band is as tight as they want to be, the horns crisp and punchy, keyboards alternately funky and lush, and of course nobody can whoop like Tye.

Greater Than is less adventurous than Fresh and somewhat 'safer' than the live outings with the Greater Anointing group, but it's still Tye Tribbet, which means it's not your typical worship project.

Bert Saraco

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