God's Not Dead

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Continuing their prolific output since the recruitment of dc Talk frontman Michael Tait, God's Not Dead is the third release from Aussie Christian rock outfit Newsboys in less than 18 months, following 2010's double whammy of Born Again and their Christmas EP. Suggesting that their creative flow may have been exhausted, their 15th studio effort and first worship album since 2004's Devotion, features several cover versions of popular contemporary worship songs from the likes of Ben Cantelon ("Savior of the World"), Hillsong ("Forever Reign"), and Daniel Bashta (the title track). But by opting to leave the inspirational indie rock source material largely intact, the band fail to stamp their own mark on proceedings, with only the surprisingly funky, indie disco treatment of Chris McClarney's country-rock anthem "Your Love Never Fails," and the ramped-up, crunching metal-lite riffs on Gateway Worship's emotive "Revelation Song" providing any notable differences. While the chugging basslines, "woah-oah" choruses, and pounding beats of original compositions, "The King Is Coming" and "Here We Stand" both adhere to the album's prevalent, rousing indie rock formula, the punchy, string-soaked dramatics of closer "I Am Second" (one of two tracks featuring the vocals of Tait's former bandmate Kevin Max) and the soaring hymnal acoustics of "All the Way" prove the Newsboys haven't run out of ideas. But with one track lifted from their previous effort ("Mighty to Save") and a string of competent but unremarkable covers, God's Not Dead suggests Newsboys need their batteries recharged.

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