Almost There CDAlmost There CD
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* Sometimes heaven can seem far away---but when you close your eyes and immerse yourself in praise & worship, you'll feel like it's closer than you thought! Features "I Worship You," "Here Am I," "On My Way to You," "How Great Is Your Love," "I Can Only Imagine," "Cannot Say Enough," "House of God," "In You," and more.

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GENRE: Pop/Modern Worship
SPECIAL EFFECT(S): Contains updated version of single, "I Can Only Imagine," recorded recently by Amy Grant for her forthcoming album; band members collaborated on all songs except one. Not many artists who are putting out their first national release can say that they've already sold 100,000 records. But MercyMe (Bart Millard, Mike Scheuchzer, Jim Bryson, Nathan Cochran, and Robby Shaffer) have indeed topped that mark with a total of five previous independent releases. Take that as a small clue about the quality of the band's hooky, melodic worship music.

Mercy Me is a good mix of modern and pop influences--no, they're not a "boy band" la Plus One, but they're also not so ultra edgy that they have an aversion to outstanding pop melodies. "How Great Is Your Love" is a definite stand out, a sauntering worship tune that will probably hover near the top of the charts on multiple formats. The band hasn't listed any musical influences in their press materials, but I'd bet good money that Steven Curtis Chapman and Jars of Clay would be near the top of such a list, as there were several Chapman/Jars "dj vu" moments for me when listening the first time through.

The musical quality is consistent throughout all 10 tracks, interchanging beefy electric modern rock sounds with neatly stacked harmonies and admirable vocal chops. The lyrics are certainly forthright, but at times I found myself wishing the writers would have dug a little deeper for more creative ways to communicate their sentiments. Still, this is a solid effort. In fact, given the band's prior success and present offering, I'd say they're a little further along than "Almost There."

--Laura Harris