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Modern Hymns
Artist: Avid 
Label: Analytical

Avid puts a textured electronic sheen on the earnest, genteel rocking of much of so-called modern praise & worship music. Modern Hymns offers plenty about which to rejoice.

The songwriting debt this the Chicago area octet owes to Delirious's Martin Smith and other of his forebears in emphasizing a romantic relationship with the Lord (as in a God-and-human reading of Song of Solomon) isn't miniscule. They take that kind of mindset to freshly poetic places on "Avid" and "A Modern Hymn," where the metaphors may just be a touch too weird for many congregations' Powerpoint displays. More power to those that would dare sing them in unison. "As You Are," clocking in just shy of ten minutes, sounds like the act's best shot thus far at a communal sing-along. Remember how Delirious' original version of "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever" was one long ode to the Almighty, too?

Sonic textures are where Avid set themselves apart from the p&w pack. Although they borrow from drum & bass, trance, bigbeat, trip-hop and straight-up house music, they're not strictly sanctified dance music makers. Use of heavy guitar sounds (like some of their vocal inclinations, sounding like they've listened to their share of U2) and the way they morph tempo throughout songs will make Avid challenging to anyone expecting dance floor fodder. The the right remixers could, however, yield oodles of possibilities out of these seven pieces. Closing instrumental "Laid Est Le Nouveau Beau" sounds like the peak and closing hour of an especially intelligent after-party all-in-one composition.

Avid's embrace of the neo-traditional praise and worship lyricism and vocal approaches work well with their lush, protean instrumental envelope-pushing. Here's to the possible replacement of your church's worship band with a couple of laptops.

Jamie Lee Rake  5/18/2005


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