Now Is the Time

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Almost out of nowhere, brother-sister duo Anointed returned to the gospel and CCM scenes with Now Is the Time, their sixth album and first for Columbia Records. Nobody was expecting a comeback, especially after four years of inactivity following their departure from longtime label Word Records, personnel changes, and a shifting artistic identity that constantly saw them teetering between soaring adult contemporary and urbanized contemporary gospel. Now Is the Time is no different in this regard, picking up right where 2001's ultra-modern If We Pray left off, but adding a more genuinely gospel element than they attained during their Word years. One need not look further than the rousing "Gonna Lift Your Name" and the cover of Andraé Crouch's "Jesus Is Lord" (featuring Crouch himself) to notice that Anointed can have church when it wants to, which hasn't been the case for a great part of their career. Elsewhere, the tandem is back to seesawing indistinctly between pop and contemporary R&B, showing more predilection for the former, as the bulk of Now Is the Time's second half is decidedly ballad-heavy -- you'd think you're listening to Avalon for all you know. In light of the sass and spunk the siblings are capable of ("Gotta Move," "Mighty Long Way"), this proclivity toward generic, predictable balladry renders Now Is the Time a bit of a letdown -- likable, yes, but too inconsistent for its own good.

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