The Phantom Tollbooth

Jumping in the House of God III (released in the US as II)
Artist: Various Artists
Label: Alliance Music UK
Time: 14 tracks/55.17

Inspired by the ground-breaking Nitro Praise series, the Jumping in the House of God albums gave a British twist to the dance-worship genre, originally with just the World Wide Message Tribe, but gradually incorporating various other musicians. This, the third in the series, is described by World Wide Message Tribe's Cameron Dante as the album that realizes the original vision and features Delirious?, Matt Redman, Storm and Shine (among others) alongside the Tribe.

The music is mainly from the poppier, house influenced end of the dance spectrum, but there is a wide variety from the in-your-face approach of WWMT's "Lift It", to Justin Thomas's laid back rap, "Thank you for the rain", to the trippy sounds of Matt Redman's "Be in my life." The latter is a favourite, mixing slowly screaming guitars well back in the mix as if to suggest a vast landscape while a choir quietly sings songs of worship.

The album's variety extends to the lyrics as well. Things vary from WWMT's simple exortation to dance and worship to the testimonial nature of Justin Thomas's track to Bliss's "Revelation", another personal favourite:

        "If there's anything that the mortal eye won't see
        It's the fulness of love's great mystery
        The solution is the door to liberty
        But the heart of a man can't hold the key"

The great hymn writers needn't fear, but there is more than just simple charismatic choruses which is pleasing.

One track that is sure to intrigue many is the remix of Delirious?'s "Revival Town." Martin Smith's original vocals sound a little restricted on the slightly wider music landscape, presented here by pumping beats easing along at mid-tempo with various electronic effects providing more depth to the arrangement. This track would have been an improvement on the original, if only the vocals had been re-recorded.

As an album, this is the most pleasing release of the series so far, but doesn't have an anthem like its predecessors' infectious "Jumping in the House of God." Probably not destined to be a classic, this may well be a milestone.

By James Stewart (10/28/98)

So much praise music promises to be just what the youth of today need. This pop-dance album actually delivers.  Similar to the Nitro Praise series by N-Soul, this complication album features such well-known groups as World Wide Message Tribe, Raze, delirious? and Matt Redman (ok, so this is only has a few techno beeps). It is a nice introduction to some British groups which haven't made it over here yet.

Shari Lloyd (3/21/99)