Sunday, 12 January 2020

Sunday Service Choir "Jesus Is Born" (2019)

Released on Christmas day, news of this record was quite the surprise! Having enjoyed Kanye's Jesus Is King record and his collaboration with Sunday Service Choir, I was hoping to hear more of these voices and my prayers were answered! In the context of a dialed down Hip Hop record mixing in elements of Gospel they were exciting and enthralling in their peaks. As a solo project spanning a whopping eighty three minutes across nineteen tracks, it fails to spark the same invigoration.

One of Kanye's marks as a producer is his work with voices, voicing and tonal manipulation. Unfortunately that magic doesn't come to fruition within the confines of Gospel music. The voices stick to purity of the choir which are beautiful and a pleasure to enjoy in their own right but with little extra spice in the mix this quickly becomes monotonous in the reality of this not being quite my cup of tea. I love the soulful singing, uplifting energy and jollity of the affair but it does become tiresome.

As an agnostic the lyrics quickly become repetitive and disengaging. Words of praise and salvation are spun over again,shuffling the same ideas in different variations of words, which fail to appeal to someone not seeking a religious experience. With little to enjoy there, the opening songs are a struggle as subtle organs, pianos and claps give all the attention to the voices which hit their most strident, powerful and in peaks even harshest tones. The union of voices is a force pushed to some extremes even a bit much for this supposed metal head and lover of extreme music.

Once past that ambitious opening, the album drifts into an enjoyable mood as things pivot. The voices feel looser, drums and other instrumentation join in as the session starts to feel more like a jam. Hints of R&B, Soul, even Funk with a little touch of groove liven up the mood and keep the pacing interesting. It isn't however a saving grace for me, the record was fun to dive into into and as much as I appreciate the stunning singing it falls short of substance to engage me as a musical record. Perhaps to someone more versed and enthusiastic about this music it may of been something.

Rating: 4/10