This is Oysterband's first studio album since 1999's Here I Stand, marking the longest period of inactivity since evolving into Oysterband. Lengthy layoffs can either be of benefit or detriment to artists, and in this case Oysterband appears to have selected the appropriate moment to reconvene. Both from an energy and songwriting standpoint, this band has elevated itself from the overly staid level of its last two studio releases. With the exception of two traditional songs, the entire band participated in writing every selection. "Shouting About Jerusalem" and "Wayfaring" are two examples of this group's desire to rock as rarely heard before, but that's not the only area in which Oysterband has improved. The band's ability for writing alternative folk-rock anthems with interesting musical arrangements has always been noteworthy, and on Rise Above that trend continues with songs like " Everybody's Leaving Home" and the title track. The a cappella "Bright Morning Star" features the most moving harmony vocals ever produced by John Jones, Alan Prosser, and Chopper. While not acknowledged as an official member, Irish piper James O'Grady appears to have been adopted as a sixth member, as he is featured throughout most of this album. This band has always relied upon interpersonal intangibles like passion and poetic reflection to forge its songs and on this album it is at its artistic finest.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Sleger