Release Date: March 10th 2017
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Just the Beginning
- All I Need to Know
- Need You Now
Integrity Music. Home to some very high profile worship artists, from Paul Baloche, Planetshakers, All Sons and Daughters and Darlene Zschech, to Seth & Nirva, The Brilliance, Tim Hughes and Lincoln Brewster. Now to add to the ever growing roster is new worship leader, Greg Sykes, releasing his debut 5 song EP titled Reverse this past week (March 10th). So…what does this EP have, that is unique and different, that brings something inspiring, encouraging and emotive to the worship music genre, something that hasn’t really been created before? That is a loaded question, and before I answer, to the best of my ability, the question that I posed, let me say this- Greg Sykes is a passionate worshipper, and is a reminder vocally of somewhere in the middle between Todd Smith of Selah and Lincoln Brewster. So I guess it’s safe to say that anyone who enjoys reflective worship music a la similar to these worship artists aforementioned, then you’d enjoy Greg Sykes. Does he offer something new to the worship music industry, in a deep, deep sea of worship music available at the ready? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that Reverse EP isn’t good at all!
With these 5 songs standing at a total length at a tad under 17 minutes, it’s odd to review an EP, where, if you listen to each song from start to finish, you think to yourself, ‘gee, that song could be a single’. Because honestly, if you would ask me to review this album without bias, I’d say this- these songs in and of themselves are good. Great even. Greg Sykes is a worshipper full of heart and conviction. Songs like “Impossible” encourages us to see that Christ alone can carry out the impossible, that what we can do in comparison is only just a glimmer into what He can accomplish in both our lives and in the lives of those we are in communion and fellowship with on a daily basis; while “All I Need To Know” relays the truth that knowing that Christ is our only hope in all situations is indeed all we need to know about said situation- that He is in control of it, whatever ‘it’ is. “Reverse” lets us see that God can even use the most difficult of seasons to accomplish His glory and our good, using the ‘reverse’ in our lives to challenge our own perceptions of what we envisage a ‘good’ life to be; while “Just the Beginning” embodies a heartfelt, albeit repeated (again and again by many artists prior) message that our acknowledgement of Christ our Saviour is just the start of a wacky, weird, wonderful and inspiring life. “Need You Know” rounds out the EP with a worshipful prayer, calling out the Lord as we realise that we need Him more than we can even know, especially in the moments where we often believe we don’t need Him…until we realise that we do, desperately!
So to put it bluntly- these songs individually are good. Great for the church, and for people who want to add this group of songs to the ever-expanding library of songs that fit the bill as ‘worship/CCM’ for the ‘modern’ generation. But looking at it from a ‘reviewer’s standpoint, this EP sadly pales in comparison, to many other worship albums that have released recently. Albums like Let There Be Light (Hillsong Worship), Poets and Saints (All Sons and Daughters), The Garden (Kari Jobe), Open Hands (Laura Story), Boundless (Kerrie Roberts), Love Made a Way (Aaron Shust) and Heaven EP (Jimi Cravity) have all released recently (within the past few months) and have all, sad to say, have been much more enjoyable and encouraging for me personally than this new EP from worship leader Greg Sykes. Sad to say, these five songs, while individually they’re good, the flow is not present. When I have finished “Need You Now” I have unfortunately forgotten the rhythm and structure of “Just the Beginning”. The honest truth!
Still I don’t deny Greg’s passion for these songs, it’s just that when you compare this release against the albums from artists I’ve aforementioned previously, there seems to be a gap in atmosphere, quality and musical arrangements (much of the songs on Reverse sound similar to each other) when you compare this album to many that have released around this time. While that’s not to say that no one will be blessed by this EP, it’s sad to say that this someone may not necessarily be me! Nevertheless, where will be at least one person who enjoys these tracks much more than myself, so I guess I’ll say ‘God bless them in that’. Greg’s place within the music industry ought not to be questioned, and seeing that this EP is his first under Integrity Music, I guess that will make this effort much more forgivable than if the EP was his 2nd or 3rd attempt. Still, here’s hoping that his next effort following Reverse is much more refined and purposeful. Greg is too much of a great vocal talent to fall by the wayside after Reverse. Here’s hoping that this EP allows him to hone in his musical craft to create a much more lyrically emotive and musically unique and distinct album in the future!
2 songs to listen to: All I Need to Know, Impossible
RIYL: Paul Baloche, Leeland, Big Daddy Weave, Selah