The musical arm of the Australian Hillsong megachurch is a major element in the group's appeal, especially on an international basis, with its annual live recordings. The reason why is amply demonstrated on this compilation. As a musical act, Hillsong are more of a collective than a group per se, but the selections here reveal a consistent musical approach, no matter the singer/songwriter leading the ensemble. Hillsong play and sing melodic pop/rock and adult contemporary music reminiscent of the 1970s, with some elements of alternative rock. In the latter case, U2 are a particular influence. Joel Houston's "Salvation Is Here," the leadoff track, for example, has the anthemic feel of a U2 rocker, while "Came to My Rescue" is so reminiscent of a U2 ballad that it's practically possible to sing "With or Without You" to it. What the lead singers actually sing, of course, is praise & worship Christian sentiments, declaring their devotion to their Savior. Whether the singer is Houston, who tends to handle the more uptempo songs, or Darlene Zschech, who sings ballads, the lead vocal is accompanied by a massed choir singing along, especially on the choruses. Those choruses are catchy enough, and they are repeated often enough, that even parishioners who hadn't heard the songs before could be joining in before the end. The intent here clearly is to create a kind of new hymnal of Christian worship music in a contemporary pop vein, and this sampler indicates Hillsong largely succeed in doing so.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann