As if the industry really needs yet another worship artist, the debut album from worship leader Carmen D'Arcy is here. Her music may be okay for Sunday worship, but is nothing memorable or unique. D'Arcy's style is much too familiar and has been done before by the likes of Darlene Zschech, Martha Munizzi, and more recently, Laura Story. The range of the music in most of the album is simple enough for congregational worship, but some songs really give Carmen the chance to display her beautiful vocals. This quality is what makes her stand out among the other female worship leaders. Although the majority of the album focuses more on the "church worship" aspect, the few songs in which Carmen can showcase her powerful vocals are the best.
Musically, A Place Called Grace is standard fare for the most part. Boring, uninventive lyrics make this even worse. But lyrics aside, Carmen does a pretty good job of making catchy worship tunes, like "You Are Everything" or "Hallelujah, We Sing To You." Rock influences also show up on songs like "Open My Eyes," the title track, and the Southern gospel-influenced "God, You Reign." "We Adore Thee" and "Fade" are somewhat pretty ballads, but nothing more. The rest of the album is just unoriginal worship music. A choir backs up D'Arcy for the majority of the album, which is nice for a few songs, but becomes redundant after a while. In addition, in many songs, an unknown male voice pops up out of nowhere and provides unnecessary background vocals. The only song that really works with the male vocal accompaniment is in "We Adore Thee." In the others, he simply detracts from the music and, at times, even drowns out Carmen's voice.
Carmen D'Arcy has produced an album in A Place Called Grace that doesn't really set itself apart from her many counterparts, however, a strong voice like hers could make her really stand out from the pack. Sadly, the songs featured on this album are just standard worship tunes that are nothing new or special.- Review date: 4/14/08, written by Matthew Watson
Record Label: Martingale
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