Soul Survivor - The People's Album 
Artist: Various 
Label: Survivor Records/Kingsway Music (UK)  
By James Stewart 

"Over the past few years we have been encouraged by the passionate worship young people at Soul Survivor have expressed to the Lord. We've also been aware that among such a group will be a hive of creativity, including many songwriters. Sent in by writers from around the country, this album is an attempt to release some of these fresh songs of worship to the wider church." 
              -- Mike Pilavachi (Soul Survivor), from the sleeve notes to the CD. 
The songwriting on this album is definitely fresh and, as would be expected, overtly Christian. The standout is Matt Redman's "Heart Of Worship" (making its debut here), but in other places the songwriting is not of such a high standard -- well-constructed songs but with much room for improvement. 
Musically, a variety of approaches are taken, from simple acoustic to gospel/dance to rock/techno cross-over material. The musicianship is top quality, but some of the arrangements don't seem to fit the material as well as could be expected. 
Vicki Beeching provides one counter-example to this with "Search Me O God."  Live, she is reminiscent of Sarah Masen in acoustic mode, but here the producers have placed some soulful vocals over an atmospheric backing which worked surprisingly well. 
If you want to see what is coming from the grassroots of worship music in the UK then this CD is a must, but personally I'd like to hear the songwriters presenting their own material and perhaps a more consistent musical focus. 
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