Release Date: March 25th 2016
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- Momentum (Live)
- Nothing Is Impossible (Live)
- I Know Who You Are
- Face To Face
- Come Right Now
- Momentum (Live Music Video)
One of Australia’s most popular, passionate, creative and inventive youth and praise and worship bands, Planetshakers have created many stellar and poignant live and studio albums since the early 2000’s, and in the same vein as Hillsong, these Aussies release albums every year, sometimes 2 or 3. And though I previously hadn’t been fully immersed in the band’s discography (except for a full appreciation of earlier albums Rain Down and All that I Want), it is later albums, namely This Is Our Time and The Outback Sessions that have greatly impressed me, and made me interested for future projects of the band. What I did learn from listening to and reviewing both of Planetshakers’ recent albums (here and here) was that a few albums of less cohesion (in my opinion Heal This Land, Limitless and Endless Praise), doesn’t mean the next album is going to fall flat. Which brings me to this year, where the young men and women of God have unveiled Momentum: Live In Manilla EP. Considering the fact that Planetshakers still continue to release new material 2-3 times a year, you might think that an EP (which in my recent memory the band have not released before!) may be a bit of a money grab. However, a few listens of the poignant and heartfelt tracks have me thinking the complete opposite.
If there’s 5 songs on the EP, and supposedly an album of new songs, and also marketed as live; why are 3 songs sung in the studio, and one of the live tracks a re-recording of their smash hit “Nothing Is Impossible”? Well I’m not sure about the former observation (maybe the album title was referring to at least the title track being played live in Manilla?) but I do know that including “Nothing Is Impossible” is a good thing, as I believe it’s the band’s biggest hit and most popular song ever. Yes, ever! Even with me not extensively listening to their entire discography (200+ songs, wow, that’s a lot!), this Israel Houghton penned majestic worship anthem has me in chills and worshipping along to the eternal truths evident, even after listening to the album multiple times since the original released in 2011.
“Nothing Is Impossible”, sung with Israel Houghton originally, is brilliantly sung and carried by Joth Hunt to perfection, and with plenty of synth and electric guitar, and a vibrant and passionate crowd, we are encouraged to authoritative proclaim to God that ‘…through you, I can do anything, I can do all things, for it’s You who give me strength, nothing is impossible…’. Once again giving God all the glory and pointing to him as the author and perfector of our faith, it’s pretty obvious and evident in this track alone that these guys are the real deal. The title track, though at times sounding cliché, carries on this fact, as the live recording highlights and outlines the fact that because Jesus is holy and sovereign, we can praise Him with celebration and joy, as ‘…our God is moving and His love is unstoppable, so keep the party going, no stopping, caught up in momentum…’. Littered with heavy electronics, this dance album is also the album opener, and musically injects life and a fresh atmosphere that I’ve rarely heard from the band, and that’s definitely a plus!
The final three melodies are studio tracks, with each of the newly penned and recorded tracks equally as moving, inspiring, emotional, personal and honest. The piano led ready-made-for-radio pop tune “I Know Who You Are” to me is certain to become a single, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Joth ardently and explosively reiterates that because we know who Jesus is, we can rest in the promises of His, and we can know we are safe. Declaring in the chorus that ‘…Lord, Maker, Savior, I know that through it all, You are greater, Your love for me will never fade away, those who hope in You, will never be ashamed…’, we are presented with a promise and an eternal truth at will last through the ages, that Jesus will be with us always without fail.
Standing tall at just over 5 and a half minutes, the next track “Face To Face”, is a reverent, contemplative and reflective acoustic guitar and piano led ballad, where we are treated with an epic musical piece, culminating in a full band crescendo later on in the track, as the band eloquently outline how ‘…I give You the highest praise and I’ll worship for all my days, when I look You in the eye, I know I just want You now, I just want You now…’; while the EP closer is the energetic, high energy and electronic dance focused pop number “Come Right Now”, a prayer to God, asking Him to ‘…come right now, Holy Spirit, release Your power, Lord we are hungry for more of You…’. As the EP ends the same way it began, as an unbridled and passionate moment of praise to Jesus, we can’t help but sing along in joy and honesty as well, and it is in these five songs that for me, my opinion is cemented that Planetshakers will be here for a while yet, as they set out to win souls for the Kingdom and make Jesus’ name famous!
Overall an enjoyable album that has definitely continues my reinvigorated interest for Planetshakers a bit more; this album has certainly created momentum, and given me new songs to sing out to Jesus during times of joy and hardship. Still not as impacting or rousing as albums from Passion, Jesus Culture, and Hillsong, Planetshakers have done Australia proud with their live and studio anthems and dance melodies, full of inspiring messages and uplifting lyrics about Jesus! Well done Planetshakers for creating an EP that is sure to be repeated on many iTunes playlists!
3 songs to listen to: Nothing Is Impossible, I Know Who You Are, Face To Face
RIYL: Hillsong Worship, Desperation Band, Jesus Culture, Bethel Music