Album Review: Tim Hughes – Love Shine Through

 

Tim Hughes - 'Love Shine Through'

I like how Tim Hughes doesn’t release an album until he has a full album of tracks… in fact he doesn’t even go into the studio until he has a full album of songs. This is great for a number of reasons… the songs that he wants to capture on an album are usually well played, are usually well thought and are usually arranged well. So often you find albums that have a couple of great singles but the rest of the albums songs are just fillers, as artists feel the pressure of deadlines. Tim has thought about this in the iTunes age with people able to pick and choose the songs they want rather than having to buy the whole album… and I respect that stand… of quality on ALL tracks rather than quantity of average track from many albums… this is about God not about cash.

 

Tim has said that his first job is as the Director if Music at his church Holy Trinity Brompton… the songwriting is a bit of a side line. This shows through in his songwriting as he’s thought through the spiritual process of writing songs for church and the history behind it… and from that base he starts.

Like Matt Redman, Tim has a real focus for writing songs for church… and often Tims songs are simple in lyrical content (often taking cues from the old hymns), are simple in chord structure… and ‘Love Shines through’ is no exception to the rule.

Where ‘Love Shine Through’ really shines is at the heart the songwriting, this time Tim has chosen to collaborate with other worship leaders so as well as having the best of what Tim has to offer you now have songs that are now influenced by Martin Smith and Stu G (of Delirious?) & Ben Cantelon – with Martin also helping produce the album. Even the arrangements of the songs have a collaborative feel to it with people like Jesus Culture’s Kim Walker-Smith adding her distinct raspy vocals  & musicians from Hillsong United, and Vineyard and the new Northern Ireland new comer Rend Collective Experiment playing their part.

It’s good seeing an album being produced by ‘THE’ church rather than ‘A’ church.

Tim is the master of building a song and making a song grow… he’s also great at the song surprise. ‘Love shine through’ the title track is boosted by this amazing Beatles Sgt. Peppers brass sound that launches the song into the Heavens… while in ‘All Glory’ this Londoner gets his preach on and the song erupts into this amazing Gospel choir bridge that encourages you to sing along.

This album isn’t going to set records for the lyrically best album ever heard… but it doesn’t need to, this is a simple Gospel message, and while the album title suggests love is the underlying theme… it’s not wishy washy love… it’s tough love, it’s grace, it’s about how God relates in a world that is so broken… and that is the backdrop for the album, while it rests on the fact that God has it all under control.

I’ve listened to this album heaps already… and I really like it.

In the middle of albums that are produced to fit in with huge conferences, it’s great to hear an album that is modern in it’s approach, without loosing site of the wider church (including the smaller ones)… it’s forward focusing, while keeping its roots firmly in the past, and more importantly the foundation of God.

8 1/2 out of 10

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