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Music Review: Fully Alive by Various Artists

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Updated June 14, 2018
Music Review: Fully Alive by Various Artists
Fingerprints |  Abi Bennett  |  Forerunner Music

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£7.99 (amazon)

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This Forerunner Music worship experience, born out of the collaborative efforts of the night-and-day IHOPKC community of worship leaders, musicians, singers and songwriters who gathered together earlier this year as part of a series of Forerunner songwriting camps, features acclaimed Forerunner Music artists and worship leaders such as Jonas and Laura (Hackett) Park, Jaye Thomas and Jon Thurlow. In this creative venture, every song from Fully Alive was written and recorded in an atmosphere of prayer resulting in an extension and expression of hearts coming together to magnify Jesus.

“Our heart behind this album, from writing to production, was to bless God by creating together as a family,” says Jonas Park, who co-produced the album with David Bollman. “We wanted to join our perspectives and strengths together—and then offer these songs to Him with love and deep gratitude.

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Fully Alive by Various
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Just a couple of weeks ago we featured an album by Jon Thurlow and his second solo album called "Different Story", but Jon has been busy as this album was also released at the beginning of 2018. "Fully Alive" is a multi-artist project that features Jon among other artists and it's born from IHOPKC (and bearing in mind comments I got on Facebook previously IHOP stands for International House of Prayer and not pancakes!) and their music label Forerunner Music. The songs themselves were written at the label's songwriting camps held last Summer with multiple writers collaborating on the songs and a prayerful experience of the worship leaders bringing these tracks to life. The result is more than just an album of 15 songs, instead it has been labelled as a worship experience.

The first track is a brief but beautifully phrased call to worship which echoes the Psalms with an encouragement to "Awake my soul" from Sammie Lee. The first track proper carries the album title in the song itself. "Fingerprints" reminds us how we see Jesus fingerprints all around us, and in us, as Christians. 
"You gave Your life, now I am fully alive
You spoke Your truth and tore down all my walls
My life has the fingerprints of Christ - Be magnified through me"
This is all accompanied by swirling music and a very constant drumbeat, while Abi Bennett's voice soars over it all in worship! "Heart's Celebration" is a wonderful examination of the joy of the believer, encouraging our worship to be from our whole being. This is really a lovely vocal and there are some great hooks which make this song stand out. Much of the track the backing is minimal, or maybe it just seems that way because of the captivating vocal that dominates this track. This track runs into a spontaneous worship called "Loved By You" which looks at the way we live our lives as an offering back to God as worship, not just our Sunday mornings!

So far we've had some pretty impressive female vocals, in "Fill Us With Glory" it's the first male vocal and although Jaye Thomas doesn't quite light up like the ladies so far, it's a good track which reminds us that we have a God that is close to us in every moment. The baton is passed to Brandon Oaks who brings a softer track about "Drawing Close" to God. There is a bit of a slow build in Jonas Park's track "Grateful Love" which is a song of awe of Jesus love and the response to give back all of our love. What adds to this is the inclusion of Jonas' wife bringing her vocal to complement which really see's this song open up further.

There is an ambient swamp feel as David Forlu's more dance based track "Forevermore" opens up. There is a great joyful feeling in this track and it's style makes it feel different to what has gone before. No less inspired, but a nice refreshing sound allowing a different expression of worship. Lauren Alexandria brings a bigger music feel with "Torches", and although I love her vocal, this is probably the track I have the most issue with because it's pretty much all focused on 'us', 'we're' gonna shine etc. There is the acknowledgement of God as the source of the light, but the focus is still on us and that doesn't sit well with me.

"All I Need" is a contemplative track which I believe has an inspiration in the story of the woman who came to Jesus with an issue of blood, having spent everything on Doctors, she came to Jesus desperate for a healing. There is an element of this in the song, coming before Him with everything open to be seen by Him as we worship and we ask for His touch and believing in Jesus' power to give us life. I love the track "How Awesome Are Your Works" which sounds like a Matt Redman song with just the right amount of soaring music and vocal. It also is the first track featuring Jon Thurlow alongside Laura Hackett Park who carries the main part of this track. It's a brilliant song, full of honest and true worship and it sounds easy to sing! Chris Tofilon takes an interesting look at Jesus on the cross in "Jesus My Brother", this has some strong pictures of what the cross truly meant and means for us right now.

The next track "Come Now Joy" reads like something from Stuart Townend, with more of a hymn feel than other songs on this release. There are aspects that sound similar too. Lauren Alexandria is backed by many of the other worship leaders from this album as they declare the "Freedom Song" which focuses on Jesus as our salvation and deliverer. The final track is not an update of the classic hymn despite the similar title. "I Have Decided" does have a similar theme, but the song is totally original. It sounds really good when sung by Jaye Thomas but somehow I don't think it would be quite as rousing as the old hymn when sung congregationally! 

This is a first class worship experience that features some brilliant talents. From the instrumentals and production, writers and the worship leaders delivery of the tracks and I have to say there are some songs that I would love to experience in a church setting on this album. Other than the track that I mentioned earlier I can't think of anything particularly critical to say about the album. It sounds fresh, it combines different styles and elements of worship. If you are looking for something different, that doesn't sound like a run-of-the-mill mega-church worship album, then this would be a good pick. This album and the recordings are steeped in 24/7 prayer as this ministry continues to cry out to God in praise and supplication!

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