Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Matt Moore's modern worship doesn't rise above the crowd

February 1, 2010

Motivation has been an issue recently. I’ve listened to tons of music, but I haven’t written about any of it. To combat that, I’m putting up short reviews this week to get myself back in the groove. Most of these releases are EPs, so that helps me to not feel like a lame “five sentences and a couple comparison bands” reviewer.

And I’m starting it out with Matt Moore. Matt Moore’s No Place Left to Hide is a seven-song modern worship album. Modern worship is a difficult genre to nail in that you have to be immensely singable, simple chord-wise and still  creative. Matt Moore’s problems stem from the last of the three. These songs are catchy, solid tunes that just suffer a bit too much from sameness. It’s not that they’re bad songs. It’s just that only one of them really floats above the rest of the album, much less the rest of the genre.

“A Thousand Prayers” stands out from the rest of the guitar-driven pop songs by using some neat synthesizers and dropping some of the pop/rock sheen that covers the rest of the songs. There’s much more room to breathe for Matt Moore’s voice and aesthetic choices. It’s also a mood shift from the rest of the album; the pensive, moody song has much more in common with Shane and Shane than David Crowder, Charlie Hall, the ubiquitous Kutless, and the always-somewhat-religious Lifehouse. And that’s a really good thing.

Moore’s voice is solid and his guitar playing is right there too. It’s just that this batch of songs doesn’t step above the rest of the pack with a mark that is distinctively Moore’s. With some more songwriting, Moore could develop that mark and find a greater measure of success. Right now, there’s nothing here to distinguish him from many other talented musicians in the scene.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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