Desperation Band

Center of It All

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By now, Desperation Band is probably tired of the constant comparisons to Hillsong United. They are, after all, the stateside equivalent of the popular Australian collective, a church-based team committed to putting an alt rock spin on praise & worship. In that respect, Center of It All, Desperation's follow-up to 2009's Light Up the World -- arguably the group's best effort -- doesn't attempt to fix what ain't broken. But where its predecessor was a Pop-era U2 homage, disco ball and all, Center of It All is much more demure, maybe even devotional. That means the requisite praise rockers are there ("All to Him," "Wonderful"), but they're outnumbered by the Coldplay-inspired ballads ("God You Are My God," "Our God Is Coming"), most of which build from a barely there Brit-pop foundation -- a simple backbeat, a lightly plucked acoustic guitar, a lone piano, Peter Gabriel-type synths -- only to explode, on occasion, into huge, arena-friendly choruses. The formula doesn't change much from beginning to end, but then again, that may be precisely why young worshippers like Desperation so much: for catalyzing their own prayers and praises into a sound they understand.

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