RELEASE DATE: JUNE 4, 2011
I was given a penny for every time I struggled to critique worship music, I’d be a pretty rich lady. But indie worship – that’s in a league all on its own. They are usually personal projects, worlds apart from the glitzy production’s of the contemporary heavyweights employed by the super-churches. But the purpose behind them is the same, so the criteria used to measure them by must reflect that.
Brigitte Donoho’s Restored opens with “Wash Over Me”. Whilst I can’t fault the lyrics, I personally found the arrangement did not suit the song. It was too much, too loud and too showy. Donoho can sing but I felt that throughout the opener, she had to struggle to compete with the distracting background noise. The music is supposed to accompany, not overwhelm, the vocals.
The second track “Your Name” starts out better. But though it began well, it quickly followed the way of the first. Once again, I have no problem with the lyrics and message that is being portrayed. What I did not like is off-putting arrangement that served as a backdrop. A chorus of voices is needed to battle that kind of onslaught.
Maybe third time lucky? Restored finally changes the tack with “Blood Stained Tears” a slower, less busy piece featuring some nice harmonies and adding variety to an EP which up to this point has stuck religiously to the same (faulty) method. Crashing drums, big ballads and strong accompaniments are all good and well, but everything has a time and place.
The most successful track of the EP is the title track. Donoho sings with conviction and passion, and the music complements that. My review so far has been quite critical, but I don’t want anyone to think that Brigitte Donoho is not talented. “Restore” is a beautiful song, a sincere cry to restore the broken. She successfully rescues a project that I was planning to discard.
“The Mention of Your Name” is another good track; making me wonder if the EP is like a recent football (alright- ‘soccer’) match I watch – a game of two halves. “Save Me” confirms it, although Restored had a considerably shaky start, the latter half was infinitely better than the former.
Despite this lucky turnaround, I cannot fully endorse the EP. At only 6 tracks long, 6 decent tracks could and should have been chosen. In the beginning, it sounds like Donoho is trying to emulate the arena-filling sound using her voice alone. It just doesn’t work like that. A more layered approach, with depth and texture is needed. I have no doubt that she sings well, and writes well too- but her presentation needs some polish – and I’m not talking about adding instruments.