Starfield

I Will Go

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After a brief foray into crunchy, performance-based alterna-rock, Canadian pop/rock foursome Starfield returned to the ways of their self-titled debut with I Will Go, their third Sparrow Records set. Perhaps aware that the Switchfoot-like escapades of their sophomore album weren't their forte, Starfield readily resumed what comes most naturally to them: namely, pop/rock-based modern worship in the vein of Hillsong United or Desperation Band. Unlike those groups, though, Starfield are a studio band, which explains why their take on modern worship tends to come across as a lite, more processed version of their peers -- nothing like the thundering praise sessions of other youthful acts that thrive in a live setting. For proof, there's no better barometer than the group's take on "Hosanna," one of the biggest Hillsong anthems of the new millennium: Starfield's take is faster, chipper, less solemn -- a truncated, radio-geared rendition whose intensity pales next to the original. Elsewhere, the hooks are there -- singable rockers like "Reign in Us" and "Remain" work in a corporate context -- but just about everything else, while serviceable, doesn't quite pack the same punch that teenaged worshipers have grown to appreciate in more electric, euphoric praise ensembles. Worse yet, Starfield seem to underestimate their target audience right down to their lyricism, offering a cornucopia of lines and choruses drawn straight from the most cited pages of the worship playbook. Like post-Jeff Deyo SONICFLOOd, Starfield need to kick the decibel and intensity level up a notch if they are to remain relevant with iPod-savvy parishioners.

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