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Dream Center Presents Press Play 
Artist: Press Play 
Label: Universal/Dream/Fontanna

I don't necessarily hold any grudges against well-coifed, attactive young thangs looking like they came straight from central casting who want to exalt the Almighty in song with the occasional celebrity guest chiming in. 

It is, however, easier to begrudge the above-mentioned people when they're responsible for music so slick and lacking in substance as to threaten to slide out of my CD player. Such is the case with the eponymous national debut album by Press Play, the praise & worship group affiliated with Los Angeles' Dream Center. With slightly dated dance pop and rhythmic balladry of the type that makes it sound like Spice Girls and New Kids On the Block are the band's roots music, Press Play ply their wares by which they intend to honor God.

And maybe He's pleased with stomping techno-rock, overly hyperkinetic power-pop and other beat-heavy stylings herein if the hearts of this sextet are sincere. Maybe it's going out on a limb to say so, but my guess is that He's not so keen on the preponderance of lyrics that harken back to Camen's Jesus addiction fixation and the too common tenor of P & W songs that make the Lord out to be less like deity and more like one's main squeeze. 

That's a shame if only because Press Play's sponsoring organization is doing a world of good in its city in attending to troubles such as poverty and sex trafficking. One might think an entity doing so dedicated to Christian service could produce music less glib in its approach to appreciating Chirst.

This isn't 100% insufferable given the rally toward the end of the set where Darlene Zschech joins them for one song (both rapper IROCC and Evertbody Hates Chris actor Tyler Williams double-up with PP on an earlier number) and the closing, more inspirational-than-devotional "One Life" (think of an Obama propaganda vid, slightly sanctified),  Dream Center's good works and-why not?-the act's inclusion of the daughter of comedian Sinbad ups the rating for Press Play's premiere a smidgen, but it's mostly a case of their  having hardly anywhere to go but up next time.

Jamie Lee Rake                

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