The Phantom Tollbooth

re.vive98@stoneleigh live
Artist: Paul Oakley and guests
Label: Kingsway (UK)
Length: 11 tracks/54.11 min.

Another hotly-anticipated live album, this one is led by worship-leader/songwriter Paul Oakley from the youth wing of the Stoneleigh bible week, another of the many worship/teaching conventions offered to British Christians. This album is somewhat more patchy than the Soul Survivor live release it is released alongside, but tends to be a little more creative in its use of guitar and keyboard sounds. The music is guitar-based pop-rock with a fairly contemporary feel, although at times it lacks the punchiness the songs require, and the lyrics are fairly straightforward praise/worship fare.

The strongest tracks are the Oakley-penned tunes, all fairly predictable in their inclusion but slightly stronger than on their studio debuts. Matt Redman's 'When the Music Fades (Heart of Worship)' is included but while it is a good song and competently played, there is nothing about this version that seems to justify its place in the collection.

The producers of this album and the musicians who performed it live should be credited for trying to include some variation in the sounds and there are some interesting passages as a result, but the album is too patchy to really make the breakthrough these passages suggest it could.

By James Stewart (12/6/98)