When White Heart gets it right, it's so right. And this is one of those albums where a White Heart line-up reaches the peak of its powers. Highlands, just marginally second to White Heart's best album, Freedom, has many similar reasons for its appeal as Freedom. In particular, it shows what White Heart can do better than nearly most bands - joyful songs that aren't cheesy (Don't get me wrong, White Heart have done their fair share of cheese, but not here).
There isn't a dud track on Highlands. It opens with the jubilant "You Can See The World," an appropriate foreshadowing and declaration of the experience you are about to have. The album then kicks into gear with a rocker worthy of their long hair in "Nothing But The Best." "Heaven of my Heart" further sets the tone of the album. And it brings to the forefront of the album what makes it: Anthony Sallee's bass playing. It was shame that Sallee was a line-up change for the next album because his talents are astounding.
"Once And For All" reflects on Easter with a slow building ballad and is easy to immerse into. It also has the rarity of female vocals featured in a White Heart song, which fit nicely alongside Rick Florian's perfect voice. "Excuse me, Forgive me" and "Change Your Way" are solid songs, but perhaps don't fit in with the rest of the album. The former also seems to be too interested in making a theological point which distracts from the song.
"Highland Of Love" is a soothing, sweet song which conjures up misty moments of a celestial nature. "The Cry" adds an epic quality to the album, perhaps best described as medi-evil rock. "Let My People Go" sounds unfinished, and almost is on par with the rest of the album but doesn't quite make it. But "The Flame Passes On" ends matters excellently. It's one last chance to pour your heart out, and it feels like a sequel to "Light A Candle," which closed Tales of Wonder.
While I think Freedom is the better album, what sets Highlands apart is that it has stronger themes recurring throughout the lyrics and imagery. It takes you to another place, looking down over mountains or standing on castle walls gazing out over glorious kingdoms.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 8/13/09, written by Steven Benbow for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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