Heaven & Earth (Bonus Track Version)
This finely wrought work returns again and again to Phil Wickham’s vision of a joyful reunion with his Maker. Rather than relying upon stock worship music phrases, he invokes the world beyond this one in “Eden,” “In Your City” and the title track in fresh, vivid terms. He’s aided in this effort by Peter Kipley, whose nuanced production applies synthesizer washes over pulsating beats and acoustic guitar tones. The gamelan-like percussion opening “Cielo,” the fluorescent keyboard busts in “Hold On” and the swirling, ethereal textures surrounding the title tune are among the inspired touches found throughout the album. Wickham’s unmistakable voice — one of the most distinctive in modern Christian rock — is used with warmth and taste, conveying spiritual longing without resorting to emotional overkill. There are obvious corporate worship hits here, including “Your Arrival” and “I’ll Always Love You.” But it’s Wickham’s personal quest for unity with God that gives this album its remarkable glow.