No One Higher

By | Categories: In Review, Music, Picks

North Point Worship
North Point Music
northpointmusic.org 

No One Higher is “the live worship album of 2012” with plenty of congregational presence and passion. North Point with Steve Fee as producer has gathered 10 of the best of the best worship songs in the last 4 years—most from the last two, with some brand new debuts—and put them together into one of the most cohesive, yet dynamically expansive albums in the modern rock genre this year. Replete with swirling guitars, massive drums, and first-rate musicianship, No One Higher is the first album release connected to North Point’s high school student ministry InsideOut. Originally it was recorded at the request of the ministry head to be a resource (in-church only) for students with the songs they sing weekly. But the amazing response moved them to make the album available to the wider body of Christ. 

The worship team on these songs will be familiar to those who follow the creativity emanating from the Alpharetta, Georgia, based church. Seth Condrey, Eddie Kirkland, Chris Cauley, and Heath Balltzglier take turns leading out on both covers of familiar modern classics from the last few years (“Forever Reign,” “Furious,” “Always,” “Our Great God”) plus brand new songs such as the standout title track co-written by the album’s producer Steve Fee with Balltzfglier and Condrey—an expansion of a simple and infectious bridge Fee wrote previously into a stirring, dimensional, and ascendant song. Also available for the first time, “Can’t Stop Singing” written by Todd Fields (with Fee) and “God Is For Us” (Gibson/Gibson/Darnell/Walker). The former kicks things off with reverberating energy and out-of-your seat proclamation of both our joy and God’s unrelenting love. The latter again proclaims God’s good character, inspiring confidence in the face of all circumstances.  Also, North Point original “Bless Your Name” from Awake, plus the cover of Hawk Nelson/Jason Ingram’s “My Next Breath” with its confessional honesty are welcome additions.

This album is balanced, God-centered, packed with feeling, scriptural truth, doxological richness, and lyrical depth. Thankfully No One Higher displays a range of approaches with the vocals and music interpreting the song not just accompanying it. The lyric-tuned arrangements and finessed move from anthemic mountaintop to whisper quiet and vice versa is refreshing. A shoe-in for rock-based worship, but most of these songs can also be adapted to more sedate settings. 

More: The prayerful, heartfelt emotion and sensitivity of “Arms Open Wide,” is compelling as is the keen choice of songs that together paint a picture of God’s singular greatness, power, redemption, forgiveness, covenantal, and tender love. 

Less: The only thing that is conspicuously absent is some of North Point’s accomplished women leaders/singers and the restraint that would allow remaining in quiet mode through an entire song. 

5 stars
Andrea Hunter 

 

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