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Loft Sessions, Bethel Music - Album Review

Loft Sessions, Bethel Music - Album Review

By Ed Rotheram on January 24, 2012

Intimacy - it’s what we desire with the Lord (see Psalm 63), and it’s the one word I can use to sum up the latest of a long line of anointed and powerful albums from Bethel Music. Every song carries within it an overriding message of drawing closer to God, and moving deeper into relationship with Him. When combined with the setting, the worship intensifies to the point where the presence of the Lord is tangible, and this atmosphere has been captured perfectly on this album. Let’s take a closer look.

It may seem surprising to some that this album has yielded another version of "One Thing Remains", as this song has appeared on several releases over the past year. However, once again, as with a few other Bethel songs ("Love Came Down" & "Here Is Love" spring to mind) we find that with an arrangement to suit the occasion, the song takes on another dimension. Piano and a high vocal line combine to produce a far more whimsical introduction, and from there the acoustics and bass, together with the undertone of a B-3, propel the song forward. This is a pleasing arrangement, and will provide worship leaders who favour the acoustic approach with a great alternative to previous versions.

Without a doubt the standout track on the album for me comes in the form of ‘You Have Won Me’. Just one listen to the following refrain had me hooked:

“Shout it out and lift up one voice in worship Sing it out until all the earth can hear it, Jesus is alive and He saves, He rescues and saves”

The energy and passion of hearts that yearn to praise the Lord comes through with awesome power in this song. The only thing I can say against it is that I wish that it lasted twice as long!

Jenn Johnson’s "Come to Me" released at the start of December, so may be one of the more familiar tracks to some from the album. This song is the Lord’s response to Jenn’s heartfelt questions about the state of the world - with so much hurt, pain and destruction going on in the world around us, He answers “Come to me, come to me, I’m all that you need”.

Some of you may be slightly less familiar with Steffany Frizzell, who leads “You Know Me” on this album. Steffany’s heart and expression of worship is truly something to revere - her love and passion for the Lord come out in abundance every time she worships. As such, there is an underlying crescendo to this song, that peaks right toward the end with a layering of vocals that sit succinctly over the strings and piano.

There has been a seemingly never ending contingent of gifted worship leaders and musicians coming out of Bethel over the past couple of years. Added to the already flourishing ministry we now find two newer faces - Hunter Thompson and Matt Stinton. Hunter leads the evocative “My Dear”, and Matt leads “This is What You Do” - a catchy, refreshing song that speaks of the newness we find with God every time we approach Him.

I must admit that for me, a Bethel album primarily consisting of 4-5 minute worship songs wouldn’t have been my preferred option as I love the spontaneous moments that live Bethel albums generate. However, I respect that Bethel has explored a different, more “live studio” angle, and has thus ended up with slightly shorter tracks. For those of you who enjoy Bethel’s full band, rip-roaring worship with spontaneity, there is another album of that ilk on the horizon.

Matt Stinton kindly agreed to share with us his personal insight to this review - and I’m going to leave you with his reflection on the album as a whole:

“There is something very special and intimate about a simple, stripped-down worship set and that was what we hoped to capture with this album--a simple, creative expression.”

Many thanks go to Matt Stinton for taking the time to input into this review.

Rating: 5 out of 5

-Review by Ed Rotheram

(review copy provided by Kingsway)

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