Restoration makes things new, which is apt for this latest album from New Wine Worship whose strength lies on drawing out newness from songs. The songs from their latest live album mix new songs with old, and continue a run of releases that champion the very best of live worship today.
Kicking off with the energetic ‘Pray’ from Worship Central’s Mercy Road release, ‘You Restore My Soul’ wastes no time in shouting out a bold love of God’s power to change the world. It’s a party piece. A powerful call for us to follow God, to go where He goes and seek transformation. Seek change.
‘Yes and Amen’ has a certain old-school feel to it. Led with confidence by Abi Johnson (who can really belt out a worship song, and is one to watch), the bluesy guitar riffs and classic-worship-song structure make this as much a pleasure to listen to as a powerful reminder that God’s faithfulness is worth investing yourself in.
Other notable new versions include Worship Central’s Stir a Passion (a personal favourite for its simplicity in sound, heart, and message) that dynamically moves from spare instrumentation to rousing shouts with skill and elegance. The song grows naturally. It carries you and encourages your passion for God to grow along with it as the song builds and builds. As well as Stir a Passion, their version of Reckless Love accomplishes sounding new and engaging. Thanks in part to Abi Johnson’s delivery and the ethereal effects and samples used from the opening notes. There is a risk associated with adding Reckless Love to the album given how ubiquitous the song has become in worship charts. Yet the song still feels fresh because it feels genuine. I didn’t feel that Reckless Love was added because it’s the song of the moment. Rather, because it reminds you how overwhelming and restorative God’s love is. On an album that explores how God renews us day-by-day, Reckless Love is perfectly at home.
Finishing off the album (well, aside from an acoustic version of the title track) is Living Hope, a song that gave me a sense of Deja Vu. This is now the third version of I’ve heard of the song without realising. As well as New Wine Worship’s version, the song has also been released by Bethel’s Bethany Wohrle and Phil Wickham (who co-wrote the song with Brian Johnson). This seems to be how worship songs are now released; in partnership and community. Reckless Love, for example, has been released by Cory Asbury (writer), Passion Worship, Michael W. Smith, Israel Houghton, Steffany Gretzinger, Bright City and, of course, by New Wine Worship on this album. Songs being passed between worship artists is nothing new, but the speed is. By the time you’ve found out about a new favourite song, you’re sure to have your choice of versions.
As an album, You Restore My Soul speaks to anyone looking for change. It addresses how God brings change in everything, how we don’t need to settle in our failures but look upwards to God when everything in us would rather look inwards to our messes. Both in song choice as well as their striking performances, New Wine Worship demonstrate the joy and hope of being made new. Of being restored.
July 27th, 2018 - Posted & Written by Aaron Lewendon