Jeremy Vanderloop All Creation Sings. This collection of worship songs underperforms in most areas

Label: Mosaic Artistry Group
Time: 12 Tracks / 52 minutes

Vanderloop must already have some fans out there, as this is his third release and he thanks Kickstarter supporters for their funding in his liner notes.

However, this release does not seem to have a producer, and Vanderloop talks of creating with a “majority rules” process. He really needs someone who can drive the overall quality, be honest about where the songs fall down and can do some objective pruning.

Most areas are weak: the songs rarely have hooks and do not develop melodically; neither do the lyrics develop their imagery (a few similes do not make a crafted song); many tunes (such as “Beautiful”) are dirge-like; and the producton often fails to match the lyrics. In places the words come across as mere stream of consciousnmess and do not make sense: “There is love / wretched sinners reconciled to the Earth and breaking down / We will rise.” He has been listening to too many CCM cliché stacks.

At times, the musicians stand out – the guitar work on “The Prize” is a case in point. There are decent players involved – drummer Jared Evans has worked for Ricky Skaggs and multi-instrumentalist Chris Gladden has played for Tye Tribbett – so much of the blame must be laid at Vanderloop’s door. Production aside, his vocals (which have dodgy pitching in places, particularly in “Beautiful”) are often thin and do not reflect the content of the words. When he sings, “We’re more than conquerors,” he could be singing about his back hurting for the emotion that comes through.

The best bits are spread out. Opener “Illuminate the Sky” is a decent declaration of intent and there are some nice orchestral additions in some early songs; “The Prize” and “Enduring Love” may be the greatest examples of his soft-rock, while “Heaven’s Drawing Me” is where he best conveys mystery and awe.

Like an unadorned Christmas tree, this set has function, but little celebratory spirit. I do not doubt his heart, but musically, Vanderloop seems out of his depth.

Derek Walker

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