Based in Alpharetta, Georgia, North Point Community Church is the third-largest church in America, bringing in an average attendance of 23,000 people every single week. With numbers like that, it should be no surprise that their worship album, Awake, features heavy-hitters such inspirational rocker Steve Fee, Dove Award winner Seth Condrey, and master producer Nathan Nockels. The fourteen-song collection is an upbeat, exciting journey through the worship music of today's congregation, bringing together a fresh selection of new and old favorites for everyone to enjoy.
Awake is, by nature, a worship album. And by nature, a "worship album" is typically a group of songs that are meant to encourage audience participation. Oddly, the running feel of Awake exhibits much more the qualities of a stage performance. The first song, "God Is Alive," is led by a trifecta of artists (Steve Fee, Eddie Kirkland, and Todd Fields) and sounds more like an inspirational Weezer b-side than a singalong ballad. Fields returns later with a version of the classic "It Is Well," but in case you thought you could sing along to that, think again-- the rhythm got slightly altered up somewhere in the transfer, and there's an unfamiliar new chorus thrown in the middle.
"Everything" is a powerfully moving track, as is "Nothing Can Separate Us" which slowly builds to a yearning climax in the final minute. "We Crown You" is stellar radio rock that, again, seems to have a place in the catalogues of Rush Of Fools or Jeremy Camp rather than on stage. "Glorious" starts off loud and exciting, quickly turning into one of the most singable songs on Awake while keeping fun, pop-friendly instrumentation center stage. The tempo slows down considerably with "A Mighty Fortress," another of the truly worshipful songs in the collection. "No One Higher/The Stand" and "Rise And Sing" almost segue into one another and wrap up Awake on just as much of a high note as it started.
North Point Live: Awake is both positive and entertaining. There's a little of everything inside its hour-long runtime, so the album is sure to please nearly any audience. As previously mentioned, though, it feels much more like an inspirational concert rather than a worship experience. Full of catchy guitar hooks and rock sensibility, Awake is an adrenaline-filled, spiritually-infused good time, but church goers not from North Point might not be able to start singing along right away.- Review date: 8/27/10, written by Garrett DeRossett of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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