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Artist: Vineyard Music Burn:UK Worship
Label: Vineyard Music
URL: <>
Times: 14 tracks/61:21 minutes

One thing's for sure about Beautiful: it's not typical Vineyard Music. In two short words, it rocks! Raw, unbridled passion, intense worship, and all those trite, overused words and expressions may all be employed here because they fit the tone and mood of this recording from the St. Albans Vineyard Burn Church in the United Kingdom. The band includes Marc James, Samuel Lane, Jimmy Cooke, Nick Bright, Deborah Clarke, and Adam Dickens.

Take the Surrender project and crank up the volume in both the texture of the sound (remember, it rocks!) and the magnitude of worship. You may also throw that type of sound together with that akin to Audio Adrenaline, Skillet, Tree 63, Rebecca St. James, Delirious?, and Kutless (with your favorite here that I've omitted). That's the gist of Beautiful.

Most intriguing for this project is that the theme "beautiful" does indeed occur--in fact, resound--often, in the title track, "Dying to Return," and "Sometimes." Besides the fact that this project focuses on the nails (excellent cover art; please peruse the web site), it's as close to a "concept album" as I've heard from Vineyard.

Okay, again, it rocks! Check out the frenetic pace of "I Will Rejoice," "Fallin' in Love with You," both of which sound a bit like Tragedy Ann, or "Draw Nearer" and "I Need You More," which build on a solid wall of sound of guitars and the sturdy underpinnings of drums and Hammond organ.

Yes, it rocks, but there are just a few pauses in the breakneck speed. Deborah Clarke's voice on Marc James' "Shadows" and her own "Sometimes" are welcome variations to keep worshippers and/or listeners from fatigue (if such a thing is possible in worship, the listener will find it here). "Shadows" has received radio airplay, and it is important to understand that this song is not representative of this entire project; to some listeners, additionally, it may sound either out of place or like a sore thumb.

However, there are two vitally important Vineyard moments here. I've mentioned Surrender; the title track makes an encore here, and I really prefer this version. I often use "Breathe" as an illustration of how an excellent Vineyard offering builds from simplicity to incredibly intense worship. That element is here in this rendition of "Surrender," as well as the title track "Beautiful." Both are gripping, splendid performances.

There are a few spots that could use more polish or a different direction. All the bands I've mentioned? Well, "I Need You More" sounds just too close to Audio Adrenaline (or a toned-down Skillet). It's possible to pick up on music influences that have guided the St. Albans UK Burn Church band.

I heartily recommend this project for youth gatherings. "Youth!" Another banal, overused word! But it fits here with strength and texture that are solid in both excellent, original songs (the title track is quite representative of the entire project) and music. And after all... it rocks!

As of press time, chords and lyrics are not available at the web site; however, they are included in the enhanced CD, along with some of the CD's lovely artwork.

Olin Jenkins  2/3/2003



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