Music Review: Overflow by Planetshakers

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Updated December 02, 2018
Music Review: Overflow by Planetshakers
'RIVER' | Official Planetshakers Music Video

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Track Listing

Come Right Now (Live)
River (Live)
Overflow (Live)
I Know Who You Are (Live)
I Came For You (Live)
Sings My Soul (Live)
Heart Song (Live)
I'm Free (Live)
Give My All (Live)
Precious to Me (Live)
Face to Face (Live)
Join With the Angels (Live)
My Father's Child (Live)
Gotta Give Him Glory (Live)
Here Comes the Revival (feat. Boom) [Live]
Come Right Now (Live)
River (Live)
Overflow (Live)
Give My All (Live)
Sings My Soul (Live)
Track 21
I Know Who You Are (Live)
Face to Face (Live)

Forming for the first Planetshakers Conference in 1997, Australian Christian Worship band, Planetshakers is passionate to see generations worldwide unite together to worship God. Their heart is to see people encounter God, be transformed by his presence and empowered to make a difference in their world.

Hailing originally from Adelaide, the Planetshakers Band is now based in Melbourne at Planetshakers Church, under the leadership of Senior Pastors Russell and Sam Evans. With over 20 internationally acclaimed albums, the band tours annually to the USA, UK, Europe, South Africa, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

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People are sometimes surprised to find that there is another Australian Mega-Church that releases music besides Hillsongs. Planetshakers have been around almost as long (starting in 1997 vs 1992 for Hillsongs) and have released over 30 albums in that 20 years. This is an impressive record! So this is the latest album "Overflow" which was recorded live at the 2016 conference.

Cheers and then a rising siren sound and you're straight into the heart of the first verse of "Come Right Now" with a heavy slap bass and dance feel, there is no doubting that this is a Planetshakers live album! This is a hyped-up opener that invites the presence of the Holy Spirit and praises Him. Along with "River" it drives home it's beats and invites us to dive in to the worship experience. Overflow will keep you on the dancefloor with it's strong beats. Somehow it feels to me that the style overwhelms the words. All of these three tracks are designed to dance too, it's the way worship is encouraged in some congregations and clearly part of the culture in these churches, but there are good lyrics here that get overshadowed by style. I enjoy these songs but fear that we are losing the impact of substance for the style. This feels like it has stepped across into performance and entertainment rather than worship - and yes I know David danced with wild abandon in his underwear, but that was an honest outpouring of his spirit in joy, not a heavily manipulated bass-line and deep beats.

So it's good that the next song comes along to reassure me. "I Know Who You Are" brings the lyrics into a sharper focus and the lyrics themselves point straight to Jesus in this more reflective ballad. This song is born out of struggle and is a declaration that can be sung reminding ourselves of the person of Jesus and the faithfulness of God. Continuing the reflective worship is "I Came For You", there seems to be some confusion with who the song is directed to as part of the song is directly referencing the Holy Spirit and then it switches to Jesus. Now are the members of the Trinity interchangeable, does it matter? Well yes because the Trinity all have different roles as part of who God is, so one moment the reference is direct to the Holy Spirit, towards the end it's "Lord let your Spirit move". This is either a clever song which explores the interaction between the members of the Trinity, or it's just confusing, you listen and decide!

"Sings My Soul" keeps things in this reflective spirit and is a truly beautiful and simple track. It's almost like a hymn in it's style - something you wouldn't normally associate with Planetshakers! This though is not a re-write of the old classic hymn, it's something original and gives us a reflection on the Cross. In this phase of the album it's where the live aspect comes in beyond the whoops and cheers of the early tracks. This sounds like a hall of thousands in unison lifting their voices to God. "Heart Song" keeps this reflective mood and brings the choral "o-o-o-o" of the previous song. This is clearly time to dwell in the imagery and power of the previous track and it feels like a natural extension. This builds up towards the end so that when we drop into the EDM style of "I'm Free" it doesn't come as too much of a shock to the system!

The track itself occupies something of a middle-ground on this album, it's somewhere between ballad nature of the previous tracks, but isn't quite the dance-floor fillers of the initial tracks, but it sits here as an upbeat worship dance track that you don't know if you should be singing or dancing, so you end up doing both and fall exhausted to the floor at the end of it! The next track is all about the notion of surrender as we "Give My All". As I listened to the track I couldn't help but listen to the use of the bass. Sometimes when you would expect the bass to be undergirding the track it's taken away altogether which adds a great feel when it swoops back in.

Suddenly we are back into a very intimate space with another track focusing on the Holy Spirit in "Precious To Me". There is also a bit of a switch that I commented on earlier again in this track but it's not as noticeable as before. "Face To Face" as the name suggests continues the intimacy of knowing God. This is something that doesn't always get explored in our worship so I welcome these songs and feel that they could be powerful personal and corporate worship tracks in churches across the world.

"Join With The Angels" does a great job of bringing a simple piano backed worship track to this auditorium and to this album, giving us a chance to appreciate the simplicity. Then at the bridge this track builds up the instruments adding the feeling of being connected with the heavenly praise before dropping back to the intimate solo to round out the track. The same simple piano also backs "My Father's Child" as it opens. This is another powerful and intimate track.

Something that I didn't see coming and took me by surprise was "Gotta Give Him Glory" which brings a Gospel feel , and the band seems just as comfortable with this style as any of the others featured on this album. It's a simple but powerful track and the vocals are superb.

"Here Comes The Revival (ft. Boom)" rounds out the album. This is an electronica infused track that looks forward with expectation to God's Spirit being poured out in revival. This track has a great arrangement and nicely blends to vocals with the other electronic elements to make a powerful composition.

So there are some misgivings about the 'feel' of some of the early tracks within a 'worship' setting but actually this is balanced beautifully by some tracks that bring a personal element to worship beyond just being led by the bass and beat. These songs have heart and there are many that stand out. Special mention must be made of "I Know Who You Are", "My Soul Sings" and "My Father's Child" which are the heart of this album and come from Mitch Wong!

So this album has a bit of everything - Dance / EDM, soulful, inspirational, big noise, Gospel and ballads but all worship! In a market sector that is jam packed at the moment with so many mega-churches leveraging worship for income, this album does stand out. Could this be the best live worship album of 2016?

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