Never for Nothing - CCM Record Reviews archive Y

Y FRIDAY : Rainmaker. (Soul Survivor : SURCD 039)
Delirious? Have inspired many of the young bands currently playing the local Christian circuits up and down the country, but here's one who have gone one step further. Y Friday have been playing in their native north-east of England for some time, and have now been picked up by Soul Survivor. The music isn't just a Delirious? tribute, and the band's style reflects that. Based around the vocals and songwriting of Ken Riley, they cleverly mix rock with praise and worship that, overall, works well. "Holy, Holy, Holy" is quite an attacking number while the following "Closer" and "Thank You For the Cross" show the true strength of Riley's gifts. It's not a one man show though, far from it, in fact. The rest of the band show what skillful musicians they are, especially on my favourite track "Greatest". "Part of Me", on the other hand, is quite weak in comparisson and "If" is another that didn't make the grade. However, the closing "Here" is a song of epic proportions with the simple statement "I Will Worship You". 8/10. (January 2000)
THE YAHWEHMEN : Ave Yahweh. (www.sirjoshuafrancis.wix.com/thegoodlordprotector)
Joshua Francis is a singer songwriter in the North West of England, and writes both Christian and secular songs. Joshua's music is a unique blend of original rock n roll, blues and folk, with powerful vocals; but he has been described as producing an insanely diverse range of styles, from protest songs, ballads to show tunes and everything in between. His songwriting is poetic and his performance is professional and highly energetic. His ministry includes both charity work and (pre-covid) visits to Thorn Cross Prison, Warrington. His band, The Yahwehmen, are currently recording and album. “Ave Yahweh” was released as a single, a little while ago. It's about a repentant sinner begging God to let him into His kingdom. Ave Yahweh, "I only did it my way 'til I skidded off the highway, narrow is the road to the great payload, Ave Yahweh I'm coming home". Where do I Begin? The track is carried along, at speed, by guitars and harmonica. Joshua’s rather raspy vocals are very much in the style of, say, Gary Allan or Kid Rock. A little too much echo, at times, made it difficult to hear some of the lyrics, clearly. But, that said, this song and style made me smile. If Bob Dylan turned to rock music, he would probably sound like this! One slight annoyance was the over-use of a crash cymbal. But, overall, I can’t wait for the album. 7/10. (August 2021)
YAZZ : Turning Back to You. (ICC : EMMPYZ01)
Yazz is fondly remembered for her big uplifting hit single 'The Only Way is Up'. Sadly, most of the follow up singles didn't do so well. These days, she lives in Europe and has a strong faith, which she now sings about. The album has some good points, but also some lows. The first radio single, 'Freedom' is a bit of a mixture. It's a Yolanda Adams gospel sort of thing, but really doesn't take off. 'Love Creation' speaks for itself, while 'You Are My Daily Bread' tells of being empty without Jesus in your life. 'Strength to Carry On' is a summer sounding number, and it's quite nice to listen and relax to. What I did find mid-album was that the album seemed to run out of stream. There are some great sentiments in the lyrics, but the structure of some of the songs left a lot to be desired. It all ends with a touching, if rather short, version of 'Amazing Grace', sung accappella. Not the exciting album I was hoping for but there are some quality moments. 6/10. (Feburary 2008)
YAZZ : This is Love. (YazzMusic : EMMPCD9)
I guess no matter how many years pass, Yazz will always be fondly known for her 1988 #1 hit, ‘The Only Way Is Up’. Her voice may have mellowed a little since those times, but her faith is stronger than ever. This mix of self-penned and cover songs, finds her in doing what she does best, and makes for an enjoyable listen. The title track is sung acappella, and Yazz says that she always puts one track on her album in this style as God loves the human voice. ‘Summer Rain’ is a lively, jazz funk affair, and I really enjoyed this song. Yazz then goes into a lighter mode, with Bob Marley’s ‘Redmeption Song ’ sounding like a summer smash. ‘Portrait’ and ‘People Get Ready’ sound similar, but ‘Narrow Road’ hits all the right notes when celebrating the joy of choosing the right path, and following Jesus. Her vocals really soar on the Hillsong classic ‘Praise’, and the chorus gets a boogie woogie feel. It’s not an album that will instantly wow you, but it may well be one of those slow burners, that take time for you to really appreciate. 8/10. (April 2012)
YETUNDE OLOMOLAIYE : We’ve Come to Give Thanks. (https://www.facebook.com/IamYetundeOlomolaiye)
Yetunde Olomolaiye, Nigerian born worship leader and song writer, releases her single ‘We’ve Come to Give Thanks’ which is also the title of her debut five track EP. The song begins with Yetunde speaking, and telling the listener that despite all the bad things and trials we’ve been through, God has been with us all the way. And, we should give thanks. Keyboards, then, provide the main backing, as the song moves into its melody. There’s a nice rhythm and luscious backing vocals, while Yetunde’s voice leads the way. Mid-song, there’s another little bit of preaching, before she returns to singing. Lyrically, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here. It’s all about giving thanks to God, and, Amen to that. But, the tune is rather ordinary, and doesn’t really stand out from the crowd. 5/10. (March 2021)
YFRIDAY : Everlasting God (The Very Best of...) : (Kingsway : SURCD5207)
They may not have had the chart success of Delirious?, but one shouldn't under estimate the ministry of Yfriday and the lives that they have touched. From a distance, I've followed this band over the year's and have supported them in prayer many times. Ken Riley has been the writing force behind the band, and there's material here that dates back to 1999 with songs such as 'Closer' and the classic 'Holy, Holy, Holy'. Some of the sound is quite raw, but I think that adds to the pure passion of songs such as ''Rise' and 'Hands Up'. Some of the recordings are from live concerts, but the quality of the sound remains. 'Everlasting God' is a smoother sounding song, while the driving rhythms of 'Start of the Summer' had me strumming my fingers along. There's a real purple patch on the second disc. 'Rain' is anthemic, while 'One Hope' and Yahew' have a sound very much in the Green Day mould. 'Saved the Day' is energetic and empowering, while the closing 'Saviour and Friend' takes things right down for some prayerful reflection and praise. This double CD is a celebration of their ministry, and a fitting end to their work. 9/10 (December 2010)
YOUR MEMORIAL : Your Memorial. (Facedown Records.)
This album showcases the band’s various and wide metal influences – the guttural vocal work is very modern/thrash whereas some of the guitar work harks back more to the psychedelic rock of the 1970s and bands such as Spontaneous Combustion. It’s a curious mix of hard industriality and subtle fingerpicking at times. Some of the riffs are rather good (“Degenerate”, for example) and the majority of the album is more straightforward – solid 100mph drumming, heavily distorted guitars and that vocal. It’s not as harsh as some I’ve heard but it does get a bit wearing after a while and the more conventional interjections (e.g. “Steadfast”) were very good, making me wish they’d used this voice more. Some of the rhythmic changes (“Embers” for example, and the manic start to “Anchor”) are very good and show just how tight this band is. If the vocal style is to your taste, then this album will be right up your street. Best track: Regenerate. 7/10. Paul Ganney. (March 2019)
YOUTH ALIVE : The Plan (Hillsongs : HMACD115)
Here's the Hillsongs Australia youth album that is supposed to reach the parts of young people that other albums cannot reach! So many styles contained within the 10 tracks that there must be something for everybody. Saying that, styles are spread so thinly that you may well find you only enjoying one particular track out of the whole thing. For grunge and metal fans, take "Servethe Man" or "God Made the World", complete with it's Metallica guitars and grunting vocals. For the dance freaks, there's the sugary synth pop "Real" or the rapping "True Disciple". Even if you're stuck in the 80's with Bon Jovi rock, try "Are You Hungry". I think it's a brave try for something a bit different but I'm not convinced that it will actually serve it's purpose. Let's pray I'm wrong. 5/10. (May 1999)
YWAM KONA : The Commission. (Integrity Music)
"The Commission" is marked with the sound of GO. The new YWAM Kona Music EP gives voice to God’s worth of the worship of the nations and our joy to give everything to see Him get it. Whereas most worship albums focus on our personal relationship with the Lord, "The Commission" explores what the fruit of that relationship is in our lives.” The title track is typical of modern worship, with Teira Ila belting out lyrics that cumulate in a cry to the “King of the nation; We pour out our worship.” Lindy Cofer leads the vocals on “Lord of the Harvest,” a song that begins well, but gets rather tiresome by the time it completes after 7 minutes running time. I’m not sure if some of these songs were recorded at a worship event, but most of length lose their live impact, on this recording. I really tried not to compare this EP with other releases but I found it impossible. Seth Yates puts great power into the “Missionary Anthem,” but, really, can some of these people please write something that sounds fresh, and not just another rehash of every Hillsong, Planetshakers, or Bethel song that’s gone before? Is it too much to ask? Thankfully, all was not lost on this release as the velvet vocals of Mark Barlow hit the speakers with “To Be In Love.” The pure praise and worship of his performance brought a big smile to my face. It’s a love song to the Lord, and there is so much love that emanates from this, single number. It’s quite wonderful and, at 9 minutes, quite classic in fact. Of the rest of the songs on this EP, the closing, acoustic “Change the World” deserves a mention. Summing up, there’s nothing, musically or lyrically, wrong with all these songs. But, as I’ve said earlier, the Mega Church style of worship has just become dull and repetitive. It’s time for a change, please. 6/10. (November 2020)
YWAM KONA MUSIC : The Sound of Go (live). (Integrity Music)
Established in 1960, YWAM was founded with the purpose "To know God and to make Him known" and now has over 15,000 full-time volunteer missionaries, serving in more than 181 countries. YWAM Kona Music is the worship team from Kona, Hawaii “declaring, praying, seeking, singing, trusting and following Jesus, fuelling passionate praise, intercession and prayer for believers everywhere”. Their debut 2020 release 'The Commission' is now followed by this 6 track EP recorded live at Kona and featuring worship leaders Chris McCall, Teira Ila, Lindy Cofer, Bryce Anderson and Lydia Sørensen. I must admit to hesitating before first hitting 'play' as there are many mediocre live worship releases out there and I was hoping this wouldn't be simply another 'you had to be there to fully appreciate it' example. Including enthusiastic cheering/clapping/audience participation from the outset, things kick off with 'To the ends of the earth' (“here I am, send me”) – an upbeat pop rocker with repeating chorus featuring hookey bvs. The slower 'The great I Am' follows, led by a very capable vocal by Teira Ila and turning out to be one of my top tracks. The pace drops further for the overlong 'Every nation' (“all the people will sing your praises”) and stays for 'Apostles creed' which is a powerful melody delivering lyrically exactly what it says! 'It's my joy' is a stomping rock pop offering that is possibly the weakest track here, before the EP ends with my other standout, the slower and particularly well delivered 'Say anything' (“I'll obey it”) featuring Lydia Sørensen. Overall I needn't have hesitated, there is enough here to make 'The sound of Go (live)' a worthwhile addition to the large catalogue of live ccm worship releases. 8/10 Dave Deeks (June 2021) Forward to the next archive
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