World Service (CCMPlanet)
Last modified: 11 Nov 2003
Author: Brandon Klassen
Date: 11 Nov 2003
12 tracks total 57 minutes of Delirious? music magic on this brand new shiny release entitled World Service. It's been two and a half years since their last release Audio Lessonover, but it doesn't seem so long at all because of all the goodies D? has released in the interim, including their live album Access:d and their compilation DVD Archive:d. But enough with the facts. Just look at the cover of this soon-to-be worldwide gem. The d:boys, as they're affectionately known, stand calm, quiet, collected, contemplatively humble, with diffuse pink and green glows surrounding them, hinting at something underneath radiating. Whatever's beneath the surface, this time the d:boys will stop at nothing to make their message known, broadcasting in spirit and truth to the world.
It's been said before, and it's true once again - this is the best album D? has ever made. Stew's beats are crisper and spot-on as always, Martin reaches to take new, vocal-emotional risks, Tim's keys play innovative roles they've never been able to express before, Jon refuses to be left out of the mix with his ever-steadfast and swift-footed bass, and of course Stu continues to race through sonic landscapes others can barely reach on tiptoe. Beyond anything describable however, there's something fundamentally different about this album that will capture your heart and imagination. Just look at Martin's stylish rainbow tie.
Severe rock aspirations jump-start this album fervently with 'Grace Like A River,' verging on alternative-rock (but not quite delivering): 'Mystery of mysteries / That You could love someone like me' is the opening line of this rock-worship track, after which passionate riffs interrupt Martin's heart-felt thoughts and later the highlighting piano raindrops, all of which culminates in the swooning chorus. It may be an eclectic mix, but then again, D? have always had a penchant for crafting and melding sounds.
'Rain Down' is the second free MP3 single from this album (released Nov. 1), and the soft pulsing of this track combined with a contagious melody, the moshing pre-chorus and the all-out, crying emotional chorus make it one of the best on this album: 'Rain down / All around the world we're singing / Rain down / Can you hear the earth is singing / Rain down / My heart is dry but still I'm singing / Rain down / Rain it down.' Through the wind and the clouds and the rain there's no escaping the ensuing flood of choral vocals and Martin's unstoppable exclamations.
Punk riffs beat out the intro and pre-verse melodics to 'God In Heaven' before Martin proclaims over smooth electric strands some of D?'s best lines yet: 'We've got this treasure in our hands / And we're bringing it / A hidden church bell in this land / Now we're ringing it.' The track reaches its potential in the chorus where the simple lyrics dissolve into the agonizingly yearning tune which steps up and down with each line: 'To God in Heav'n / Be the glory.'
'Majesty (Here I Am)' is the first free MP3 single from this album (released Oct. 1), and it's one of the best tracks on this album. Clean electrics continue to woo the listener as ethereal acoustics, orchestral strings, intuitive bass lines and gentle pop beats support Martin's echoing voice praying in stillness 'Here I am / Knowing I'm a sinful man' and praising with soul 'Majesty / Majesty / Your grace has found me just as I am / Empty handed but alive in Your hands.' This is a track so catchy that you'll soon be singing along with all your heart without even realizing it.
'Inside Outside' runs with a brilliant combination of the funk of Audio Lessonover track 'Rollercoaster' and hints of chord progressions from GLO track 'Intimate Stranger,' a combination that proves to be pure gold. Beautiful harmonies between the d:boys (with Stu singing the verses), breathing rhythms, the newly characteristic vocal and guitar smoothness of this album, spine-tingling minor key touches and a wild mid-song explosion will assuredly make this song another favourite: 'And You / You're all over me / You're all over me / Your banner is over me / I give it all 'cos * You still captivate me, fascinate me / You still captivate me, saturate me.' Play this song really loud and dance without reserve in your living room when no one's watching.
'Free' re-captures the free-ranging guitars of 'Grace Like A River' while sporting an industrial, danceable groove. This time the chorus is anthemic, the kind of declaration you want to hear in a stadium with thousands of believers echoing the refrain: 'And I'm free / To be the man You want me to be / I'm alive when I'm alive in You.'
'Everyone Knows' sounds like a D? Cutting Edge reunion Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Acoustic guitars, background vocals, easy rhythms and a tune that captures all the swelling sentiment of a TV holiday musical special draws the listener in to join this classic D? sing-a-long: 'Everyone knows that this / Fire grows and I'm a man / A man who knows where / This fire glows.'
'With You' continues the feel-good tone of this album while stripping away everything you thought you knew about D?. The opening 'oo-oo-oo's are captivating, Tim's keys define this song and the melody in the chorus again reminds of 'Intimate Stranger,' while the lyrics pick up on themes only hinted at on Audio Lessonover: 'I'm with You / To steal another day / Is all that's on my mind / And I'm staying here to find that / I'm with You.'
Ready for a rest, 'Mountains High' is the requisite piano-led track on this album that starts slowly, complete with touches of a live sound and an indescribably perfect atmosphere created by haunting effects and strains of strings. Techno beats lead an incredible build to razing techno-rock-guitar madness and Martin's raw, desperate vocals: 'Sorrow came to visit us today / Was the longest day, was the loneliest day / Sorrow came to steal our hope away / Only tears can tell / Of this holy hour * This mountain's high / Too high for us / This mountain's high / Too high for us / Too high...'
The last three tracks on this album, at first listen, are less distinct than their predecessors, since they are partly moderately-paced and moderately-expressioned, though they'll soon grow on you. 'I Was Blind' meanders and reflects on Christ: 'Your kindness / It brings me to my knees / Your kindness / It leads me to say sorry.' A brief bare moment mid-song prepares for the inevitable build-up to the reaching 'Let it shine on us / Would you shine on us.'
'Feel It Comin On,' as the title may suggest to you, is a seriously wild rock'n'roll track unlike anything D? has ever recorded before that embodies in its depth and breadth and raucous guitars a complete abandon to worship: 'When You call my name / It feels like Heaven / Hold me tonight / Will You hold me tonight / Will You hold me tonight / It feels like Heaven.'
'Every Little Thing' is a comforting pop song that lifts up the listener with encouraging words and a catchy chorus: 'Let your world be full of colour / I will carry you / If you carry me * Every little thing's gonna be alright / Every little thing / Is gonna be alright.' The bridge in this track will remind you musically of Newsboys' 'It Is You.'
World Service will be available internationally on December 15th. The North American release will be February 10th, 2004. As D? never fail to impress, World Service effortlessly gets my vote for 2003 Best Album Of The Year.