Israel Houghton

Love God. Love People. The London Sessions

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The Beatles-referencing cover art and “London Sessions” subtitle are hints that Israel Houghton’s second solo effort was recorded primarily at the famed Abbey Road studios, but the historical flavor ends there. From its opening title track -- which is so electro and synthetic it could have come from any given laptop -- to the epic and elaborate closer “Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher),” Love God. Love People. is the standard issue Iz release, which is to say it’s daring, uplifting, ambitious, exciting, infectious, and ultimately quite satisfying. Besides the highlights that bookend the album, check the grand piano and strings that help make “Others” one of Israel’s most memorable ballads or “Our God” for that horn-driven, funky style of worship that Mr. Houghton always nails. Longtime fans will find the guest appearances from Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond to be as excellent as expected and will be pleasantly surprised that the three tracks written with Israel’s wife Melissa -- including the aforementioned “Others” -- are equal to those written with longtime collaborator Aaron Lindsey. Recommended, just don’t expect a significant U.K. influence.

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