"While most bands might take a while to find their voice, Delirious? were a prophetic, powerful presence right from the start,” the press release reads. In this retrospective we are given the opportunity to again visit where it all began.
Many words have been written about the UK’s biggest Christian band of all time. And while record companies and distributors like to employ hyperbole to market their artists, in this case no exaggeration is needed. Pioneering, creative and worship-centred. Delirious had it all.
Writing and recording from 1992 to 2009, the band’s longevity has been demonstrated in the way they released music.
Selling tape cassettes at the back of school halls was how they started. Their decision to go full time coincided with starting their own record label, which started to churn out CDs.
Finally, the band recorded their final concert on BluRay DVD and released albums through iTunes. To say the band had to adapt to changing technology would be an understatement.
But adapt they did! And their success is well documented. Dove awards, Grammy nominations, mainstream radio airplay and gigs all over the world.
The Cutting Edge Years focuses on the band’s career from 1992-1996. Three CDs, a DVD and even some limited edition postcards are all included. The CDs are a reproduction of the original Cutting Edge tapes, one, two, three and fore [sic] plus the band’s 1996 release Live and In The Can.
All in all there’s 42 tracks including Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble?, Lord You Have My Heart and The Happy Song.
The songs have stood the test of time. However lead singer Martin Smith may not agree! Writing in his autobiography, Martin admitted that "The Prophet Song was one that didn't work...The song still needs work. Maybe I should take another look at that someday".
While the band would later dabble in the mainstream world, particularly with albums Mezzamorphis and Audio Lessonover?, during the Cutting Edge era they were focused on writing worship music. They may not have realised it at the time, but many of the songs contained on Cutting Edge would go on to change the culture of praise and worship around the world. I Could Sing of Your Love Forever is the best example of this.
According to Martin, the “little ditty…wrote itself in about five minutes”. Speaking over 10 years after the band recorded the song, Martin revealed having the same chords the whole way through the song was “embarrassing”.
On top of the well-known classics, there’s plenty of gems hidden away on these three discs. You may not have heard Shaken Up, You Split The Earth or I’ve Searched for Gold before, but the songs are just as powerful and special now as when they were written in the early 90s.
And as if these timeless songs weren’t enough, there’s a DVD to enjoy too. When Delirious played their final UK show at Hammersmith Apollo, the support act was announced as The Cutting Edge band. This tongue in cheek reference to their early years (and a time when the music was so fresh, the band hadn't even thought up a name) was beautifully delivered as the band dug out their old clothes and instruments to play through some of their most-loved songs.
As well as those nine songs recorded live in November 2009, the DVD also includes a video of I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever with the London Community Gospel Choir and documentary The Delirious Story.
There are plenty of Christian songs that don’t stand the test of time. But with The Cutting Edge Years, there’s nothing to criticise. The songs are just as special now as they ever have been. Even today, 20 years after these songs were penned, there are plenty of churches across the world that will unashamedly lead their congregations in worship to Cutting Edge era songs. And rightly so.
If you already have the original Cutting Edge CDs, it’s probably not worth buying this re-release. But if you’re too young to remember the Cutting Edge years, or only discovered the band in recent years, these two CDs and bonus DVD are a must have.
Delirious have been sorely missed since they disbanded three years ago. But after 20 years of touring, who can blame them for wanting to invest more time into their growing families?
The Cutting Edge days may be over, but the music lives on. And with the band yet to rule out a reunion, who knows what the future may hold?
Rating: 9 out of 10
April 12th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes