Different But Wonderful
Noel Richards is perhaps best known as the louder-than-life worship leader who took over football stadiums including Wembley and Berlin for huge praise and worship events. If that is what you are expecting on this release then you may be disappointed. This is the second mini-album release in Noel's new direction.
Noel has been writing songs with his wife Tricia for many years, in fact, many of the (now) classic worship songs that come to mind when you think of Noel have been penned with the help of his wife. So this is a formidable writing team but they have not put together a worship album, instead this is an album of songs that reflect their current journey.
The sound of this album is very much a harmonising of their voices, mostly with Noel taking the lead. This means that the track that stands out is the beautiful "It's Not Over" where Tricia has the primary vocal with Noel backing it up. This song feels like a female friend giving support to someone in a dire situation, giving encouragement that there is still hope, no matter what happens.
The other tracks revolve around themes of love and what it actually means. More than flowers and cards but the deeper journey of knowing one another in a real relationship. Walking together, encouraging, building each other up - but definitely with space for the romance and flowers too!
There is a great song about the choice to love when tough times come in a relationship. "Love Will Find A Way" deals sensitively with an appeal not to just leave and walk away along with a request to start over. It's this theme that is also reflected on the last track "Sorry" which is a song that reflects those moments after a row in a relationship, when people walk away and don't want to repair what is broken. There is an appeal here to not leave the apology and the forgiveness until it's too late.
Initially listening to this album I was surprised by the different sound from Noel. I didn't want to let this change put me off these tracks. I made sure that I listened to them a few times and this different style grew on me and what really got to me, as you may be able to tell from the review, were the lyrics. The themes that these lyrics deal with are very real to everyday life when we live in relationship. They have avoided the glossy romantic love for words and thoughts that speak deeply into the heart of marriage relationships, but also family and friendship.
While there is no overtly Christian worship within these 6 tracks it is fair to say that these are Christian values being sung about. There is certainly reference to God, prayer and hoping for miracles in this album. Largely this whole experience is positive and affirming. This is music for a deeper listen when needing some encouragement, but would work as a soundtrack to part of your day to show you that there is hope - "It's not over until it's over, it's not finished until the end!"