The latest in a long line of youth-appealing worship projects from Hillsong United, United We Stand, is a largely Hillsong-by-the-numbers effort offering plenty in the way of familiarity without much in the way of originality. Everything one has come to expect from a United album is here - the live atmosphere, the big arrangements and a dogged insistence in rewriting the same worship song over and over.
One listen to United We Stand confirms it as a predictable successor to previous United efforts. The faster songs are catchy and energetic without managing to sound memorable, while the slower songs range from merely pleasant ("Came to the Rescue") to the excruciatingly drawn out ("Fire Fall Down"). Lyrically, the band never ventures beyond the expected either. The usual worship clichés abound, as each song on United We Stand involves some variety of their typical "Live for You," "Tell the world about Jesus," and "Jesus, You are beautiful" lyrics.
Chronologically, the album sounds drawn out as well. United We Stand starts off briskly enough, with three energetic live numbers ("The Time Has Come," "Take It All," "From God Above") that prove why this band is a natural favorite among youth. It is not long however, until the album gets bogged down by momentum-robbing slow worship songs that seem unnecessarily placed together. United We Stand's bloated mid-section is capped off by the ten-minute plus "Fire Fall Down," and by the time it finally draws to a close, not even the enthusiastic "Revolution" can pick this album back up.
Hillsong United are not necessarily known for variety between albums and one could argue that their fans would prefer it any other way. There's nothing on United We Stand that we haven't already heard on Look To You or More Than Life. Nothing here is new, yet nothing is missing either. Those who know and love United will no doubt enjoy this, since their favorite worship band has once again delivered a familiar batch of songs that will please more than inspire.- Review date: 3/29/06, written by Sherwin Frias
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