Heatseeker 
Artist: World Wide Message Tribe  
Label: Alliance Music (UK)  /Warner Resound (US)  
Time: 10 tracks/34:00 min. (UK) / 13 tracks/55:14 min. (US) 

Let's dance!  Finally, the wait is over. Warner Resound is releasing Heatseeker to the US market.  If you aren't familiar with World Wide Message Tribe, they formed to minister to Manchester (England) school kids but their popular dance music has made them a hit with audiences across Europe and America winning them a Dove Award last year for We Don't Get What We Deserve 
 
This album finds them on new ground again.  Most school ministries would just rework their current stuff but not this one. Their music always has a fresh, new sound to it and this album is no exception. Once again World Wide Message Tribe has come up with an album that reflects current trends dance music. With influences from bands like the Chemical Brothers and Prodigy, tracks like "Messiah," "Heatseeker," and "Hypocrite,"  are sure to keep the dancers happy. My favorite track is "Hypocrite" in which the singer talks about being himself a "Hypocrite" for not always being willing to share Christ with others, an idea taken from Paul's letter to the Romans. Also appearing is a house version of Bob Dylan's "Precious Angel."  As usual, the lyrics are blatantly Christian but never formalistic.  
 
This album also sees World Wide Message Tribe going through a major change in line-up. Founding members Andy Hawthome and Mark Pennells have stepped back from their work with the band, although they can still be heard on Heatseeker.  Cameron Dante is now a full-time member of the Tribe.  He joined the group after his conversion in 1995 at one of their worship events. Dante is well acquainted with the dance scene having worked as a DJ and a member of Bizarre Inc., the band that scored a world wide hit with "I'm Gonna Get You."  He has also released a solo album as Preacha, titled Geography of a Journey, documenting his spiritual journey. Another addition to the line-up has been Doronda D. Lewis, who has replaced Beth Vickers (now Mrs. Matt Redman and member of Storm) as lead vocalist. Doronda brings an interesting black Gospel influence to the music. Replacing Mark Pennells is Tim Owen, who is was known as a rapper and dancer in the now deceased British dance band re:fresh. 
  
The UK version of this album was way too short--clocking in a 34 minutes, but the US version is a full album.  The order of the orginal ten songs has been changed, the title for the song "Cuckooland" is now "Without You," and three new tracks have been added.  Two of the tracks are remixes of my favorite "Hypocrite" and the only new song on the album, "Lift It" (which appears in the UK on the Jumping In The House Of God III album). 
  
 Run out and pick up this release today. You'll be dancing all the way home. 

 By Shari Lloyd (8/22/98) 

 

 

One look at the new World Wide Message Tribe CD and you know that something is different... From the graphics of the CD, to a new line-up and even new haircuts (see inside the CD sleeve). The Tribe have redesigned themselves and come away with a great album and the music has been brought up to date with the ever-changing dance rhythms of the club scene. The WWMT exist only to help supply income and acceptance within their school programs. These guys are the true missionaries of the 21st century. 

Heatseeker is less commercial than the group's previous releases, as dance music has evolved so has the Tribe's sound. On this album they bring in styles that range from breakbeat, techno, club rap, trip hop, house/hip-hop, and R&B. Cameron Dante has his writing hand in 5 of the 10 songs, and it is clear that he has been the force behind a new transformation in musical style. 

The CD starts off with "Messiah," a track built around breakbeats, and a 
repeated chorus of "Break the chain,  Make the change..... That comes with Jesus." 

Lyrically the World Wide Message Tribe has always been an 'in your face about God' band that had nice happy lyrics. This too has changed on this release, with in your face lyrics about being a hypocrite and a song that deals with the times we disgrace ourselves with our sins and God's grace is there. They are singing about the life we face everyday, a less than perfect world seen through the eyes of a sinner, loved by God. 

The tracks "Messiah" and "Hypocrite" have a Prodigy, Chemical Brothers sound to them, while Precious Angel takes a Bob Dylan song and turns it into a club-house hit. The female vocals have a deeper and more defined sound to them with the addition of Doronda D. Lewis. She brings more of an American black Gospel sound that works great with the house tunes and the Diva sounds. 

The only problems I can find with this album is the length of the songs, most are around 4 minutes.  This doesn't work well on the dance floor, although it is great for radio.  The total time for the CD is 34:00 minutes, (10 songs) which is very short--I hope someone grabs some of these songs and does extensive remixes on them. They are songs that deserve to be remixed. 

By Darryl Cottier 

 

 

The Tribe has come a long way from the days of Take a Long Hike, and their profile has gradually increased to where they are now one of the four biggest-selling UK Christian acts.  This album has been given mainstream distribution to reflect their growing popularity. Despite all this, the group is still focused on their work in Manchester schools, and the album is aimed directly at the kids they work with. 
  
In the past year, dance music has developed a lot in the harder and more progressive end of the spectrum (Prodigy, Chemical Brothers etc.), becoming much more popular as a genre.  And this album shows the Tribe moving with the times.  The house-influenced sound that the Tribe have been popular for is still present in this album, but other elements are introduced -- including 70s disco ("Everything I Need"), techno/alternative ("Hypocrite"), and even a laidback track that producer Zarc Porter says is the result of some Portishead and Bjork influences ("Cuckoo Land"). 
  
This mish-mash of styles does seem to work on individual tracks, many of which are extremely good songs, but the album seems to be a little too diverse to my ears and doesn't totally hang together as a whole. Lyrically, the Tribe's emphasis is always on evangelism so don't expect extremely deep lyrics.  Having said that, a number of the tracks do show a level of soul-searching, which is refreshing in such an evangelistic setting.  

By James Stewart 
  
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