The Phantom Tollbooth

The Finer Things in Life
Artist: Kevin Prosch and Bryn Haworth
Label: 7th Time Music
Length: 9 tracks/45.59 min.

Very few Americans have been as influential on British Christian music in the past decade as Kevin Prosch. An important influence and mentor for Matt Redman and Martin Smith (delirious?), his own passion-drenched records have sold well but never really clicked with this reviewer...the emotion was rather overpowering. Here, teaming up with guitar virtuoso Bryn Haworth, he presents a more relaxed album of stripped down instrumentation and rather accessible emotional outpourings.

Mostly acoustic in nature, this album's strongest point is its texturing. Traditional instruments and excellent guitar playing mix to provide many a poignant moment. Bryn Haworth's slide playing may not be his best, but is certainly more than just appropriate. Lyrics too are well crafted, although not quite as consistent as the music. These lyrics, the first on the album, set the tone well:

In this stripped back setting, Kevin Prosch's vocals--which sometimes irritate--are more enjoyable as their warm earthy side comes through clearly, a good addition to the likewise earthy instruments. Still not quite an album I could praise as much as some seem to praise Kevin Prosch's work, but one which shows a strong partnership that looks set to come together again. I'll look forward to it.

By  James Stewart (10/07/98)