- With Dancing In The Fire Smith brings a modern British-rock sound and serves up a mix of worship and performance songs to the CCM and worship landscape.
Under the steeple of the historic stone church at Saint Peter’s in Brighton, England, Martin Smith brings his next offering, Dancing In The Fire. With past songs like Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble, and I Could Sing of Your Love Forever, and Safe In Your Arms, Smith has breathed fresh air into the worship landscape for three decades. With Dancing In The Fire Smith brings a modern British-rock sound and serves up a mix of worship and performance songs to the CCM and worship landscape.
Dancing In The Fire starts with an arped piano that gives way to a thick, four-on-the-floor bass drum, a heavy electronic bass line, and a distorted moog-ish synth set over the top. With this Brit-rock soundscape, Smith amps up the energy and doesn’t let it stop. It makes a great start to the album, foreshadowing more to come.
The theme of dancing and celebrating while in your own fiery challenge is powerful. The lyric, “I nearly died, the devil tried, But I’m living with your mercy on my life,” is an example of this. A later lyric says, “Take us from the shadows, to the sunlight, to your kingdom, take us from the battle to our freedom.” offers poetic encouragement.
Until The end is an anthem, starting with a marching snare and a silky guitar arpeggio. The melody is easy to sing and memorable. This song could be included in a worship set, but I think it works better as a performance piece that’s still accessible to the congregation.
Holy is a powerful, introspective worship song. Its gentle percussion thumps like a heartbeat, accentuating the lyrics using the many names of God. This song creates a prayerful, powerful worship experience that transports you to a historic stone cathedral with the morning sun shining through stained glass windows onto wooden pews like St. Peters Church. Kari Jobi will be recording her own rendition of Holy as well, evidence that Martins heart for worship is being heard.
Jesus is a must add to any worship set. Its melody is accessible, the chord structure can be played by any level musician, a solid example for other modern worship composers. The lyrics are a direct reflection of the heart for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It would work in a mega-church with a thundering sound system, or around a campfire with just a guitar.
Music and Production
The production is strong all the way through. Smith stays within his British-rock sound, but balances it with several introspective acoustic guitars plucking out arpeggios that lift the music and gives it motion. The rhythm section stays big and bold throughout, a signature of British and Euro-Rock, but doesn’t overwhelm the other instruments.
The lead vocals are good, often doubled and affected in places to change up the vocal quality. The backup vocals are exceptional, giving the song’s soul and lifting the listening experience; one of the many highlights of this album.
Martin Smith stays true to his sound, style, and theology in Dancing In The Fire. As seen with his early stint with the ground-breaking band Delirious?, and on into his solo career, Smith bing several more heartfelt worship songs to the mosaic of modern worship.
More of those backup vocals.
I got nothing.
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Christopher Watson is an author of six books, both fiction and non-fiction. He is also a musician and composer with a B.A. in Music from Azusa Pacific University. For several years Christopher led worship at The Springs Church while attending Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas Texas. He's been involved with worship in a number of churches in California and the Pacific Northwest both as a musician and in production and technology. Now he lives and writes in Washington State with his amazing wife, wonderful daughters, and highly intelligent dog, Ellie Mae.