Planetshakers — Outback Worship Sessions: Review

Australian worship band, Planetshakers, releases their 31st worship album. (PHOTO: Jesus Freak Hideout)

Music Review by Luchae Williams

I remember being introduced to Planetshakers for the first time. I found their sound to be big, electrifying and full of life! I was fortunate enough to enter the “Planetshakers loop” when they dropped their 2008 album, “All for love”, so my first taste of their music was with megahit ‘The Anthem’, which so famously sings “Hallelujah! You have won the victory!”

Boy, what an introduction!

If you are not familiar with the Australian based band, Planetshakers is a young adult youth movement, affiliated with the Planetshakers Church in Melbourne. The church is pastored by Russell and Sam Evans and has over 10 000 members. The Planetshakers band is the church’s worship band and is the central part of their events. Their albums are known for a more electronic rock sound, with deep, hard core worship sets and praise anthems that are full of energy and zest. So with that said, I was both pleased and surprised when I heard their latest offering, ‘Outback Worship Sessions’. True to its title, the album, which was recorded with multi Dove Award winner, Ed Cash, has a more homegrown, organic vibe to it. You can definitely hear the band’s Australian roots coming through on this compilation of songs, which happens to be their 31st release. How crazy is that!

The album opener, ‘Like a fire’, sets the scene for the rest of the album with a retake of the classic that debuted on their 2009 album, ‘One’. The track is acoustic guitar and keys driven, which is a bit of a nice change from their usual array of synths and the likes.

I am totally smitten with the “outback” sound of the hymn cum lullaby that is ‘My soul longs for Jesus’. If you did not know what the team meant by “outback worship sessions” then have a listen to this one first! It is so beautifully ministered by Sam Evans and is a ballad suitable for corporate worship and, in my case, even more perfect to sing your baby to sleep with! It speaks right to my heart.

Another worship song that blew me away was ‘Covered’. Whether or not they were aware of where they placed this track on the album, I think it was clever to put it smack dab in the middle, because it somehow links everything with everything else. The vocals are marvelous and the message, which talks about the wonderful grace of God, even more so. The opening lyrics are what clinched it for me, so simply penned by Israel Houghton and Joth Hunt: “Grace, glorious grace/Grace, glorious grace/At the cross You called it finished”. I also loved the congregational sound of ‘Leave me astounded’, which allows you to easily enter into a time of worship.

The album is not without the usual Planetshakers energizing praise. Tracks, such as ‘Endless praise’ and ‘Nothing is impossible’, definitely cover the fun, praise element that we have come to know and love from the mega band. Both are catchy, uptempo songs that are sure to get you moving! ‘Endless Praise’ is a dance anthem which speaks about giving God our endless praise! ‘Nothing is impossible’, is a retake of the previously recorded rock-inspired praise song. This is one of my favourites because it speaks about our big God who is able to do anything.

If you’re looking for a fun, youth vibe, then have a listen to ‘This is the day’ – which some could say is an electro dance take on the age old classic with a chorus that says “So my heart will sing/You are good/You are good…” It flows nicely into the last track on the album, ‘This is our time’, another song that would fit perfectly into a youth worship setting. When I first heard this song, I thought it could actually be played on our local secular radio stations, because the sound is quite fresh and mainstream. I particularly love the bridge that says “This is our time/This is our place/This our moment to lift Your name!”

Praise and Worship leaders, you might want to get your hands on this album! I love how the Planetshakers family have taken their name seriously, and continue to release albums that are carved out to shake the planet for Jesus. It is clear that the album was not written or produced to sound like anything else that is ‘current’. But I also appreciate that although the songs have been cleverly crafted, they still usher in the presence of God and celebrate living a life with Him. This album is for young and old alike and is a recommendation for anyone serving in youth ministry worship.

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