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CD review - ccm magazine (in English)

Newsboys - ''love liberty disco'' (1999)from: ccm magazine, December 1999
author: Dave Urbanski
website: http://www.ccmmagazine.com

»» Love Liberty Disco

If you've considered these Aussies all glitz, glam and spinning drum kits, or maybe you consider them hopelessly lost without Steve Taylor's production and songwriting prowess, take note: The band's eighth record-a radical left turn from arena rock to shimmering, restrained pop that you can dance to-is the most pleasant surprise of 1999. (Read: It spent an entire Friday in my CD player on infinite repeat, and I was still ready for more on Saturday.)

Love Liberty Disco is an apropos album title given the preponderance of polyester-decade arrangements. Whether or not this was considered risky by the Sparrow suits and ties, the hard-rock-to-pet-rocks experiment was a genius move. In fact, the 10 songs feel like 10 distinct hit singles, back to back - a delightful mix of hook-filled melodies, pitch-perfect harmonies, dance-oriented tunes, moving ballads and even a smattering of Radiohead-ish sound effects.

But despite the aforementioned superlatives, probably the most impressive characteristic of Love Liberty Disco is that no outside Svengalis added their musical stamps. Singer Peter Furler was at the production helm-and wrote the whole thing with bassist Phil Joel (except for the unabashed danceable title track, which was a full-band effort).

"Beautiful Sound," "Forever Man" and "Good Stuff" are triumphant and happy, yet lack any hint of bluster. The giddy "Say You Need Love" is Electric Light Orchestra on 78-speed. (The sonic anomaly is "I Would Give Everything," a tune that sounds tailor-made for The 77s.) The most memorable track, though, is the most mellow. "I Surrender All" is but a few guitar chords, barely whispering drums and Furler crooning a heartfelt prayer to God, the kind of praise & worship song you wouldn't mind hearing for a half hour straight. So kick up a platform shoe or two for the members of Newsboys, who took a big chance when the sensible course would have been to recycle their already successful sound. lnstead,they've come up with perhaps the best record they've ever made.

--Dave Urbanski ««

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