Music review by Luchae Williams
South African worship leader and songwriter, Allan, released his debut album, titled Face to Face, in May 2019, as previously reported in Gateway News.
Featuring four original tracks and a host of powerful covers, Allan describes the album as a manifestation of submission. “This album flows from full surrender and brokenness allowing God’s glory and presence to bring an encounter that touches our hearts,” he shared on his website.
Title track, and album opener, Face to Face, displays just that. With a powerful bridge that says “take me into the place/Where I’m face to face/I want more of You, my God”, the worship ballad introduces the listener to Allan’s powerful baritone and excellent songwriting prowess and shows off co-writer and producer Neil Engel’s exceptional production skills.
I thoroughly enjoyed all the other original songs on this offering.
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Every Chain is a powerful anthem that is a poignant reminder that we serve a God who keeps every promise! The song reminded me of the musical stylings of American singer Chris McClarney and I relished the easy to learn melody and clean production that draws you to the simplicity of the message.
You Don’t Let Go is another original worship song with a catchy melody and a powerful, yet simple message. I appreciate that Allan’s original tracks are congregational without losing that element of excellence that we sometimes miss when we focus too much on one aspect of songwriting.
The winner, however, has to be his debut single, I Belong To You – a guitar-driven, mid-tempo worship song. This track is through and through a surrender song, reminding the listener that the One who holds the world in His hands, holds us in embrace too!
I was so impressed with the quality of vocal on this album. Besides Allan’s rich, husky baritone that has a certain quality to it, the background vocals are quite impressive too! Well done to Joyous Celebration’s Mnqobi Nxumalo, Nozipho Phiri and Musa Yende whose impeccable background vocals add both flavour and finesse to each track.
SA songbird, Verona Pillay, features on the album with her original song titled I Will Go. Best described as a contemporary Christian song, the track has a gorgeous melody made even more beautiful by the combination of Pillay’s sweet vocals and Allan’s strong baritone.
While it could be tedious to listen to a lesser known artist perform cover versions of songs made popular by their well-known counterparts, I quite enjoyed listening to Allan’s take on the various cover tracks he recorded for this offering. My favourites include the Torwalt’s Gracefully Broken (made famous by Matt Redman and Tasha Cobbs) and William McDowell’s Spirit Break Out.
I was so excited to see Sinach’s Waymaker on the track listing as well! Allan and his team did this powerhouse song justice indeed, with a huge bridge which reminded me that Jesus is the answer to it all! What a treat!
Other covers you can expect to find on the album include Chris Quilala’s Miracles, the Planetshakers’ golden oldie, Healer and a recording of the popular 2018 Hillsong anthem, What a Beautiful Name, which features local singer Lindi Delport.
Allan’s heart for Jesus and worship is evident on this album. I enjoyed the level of excellence in both singing and production and actually appreciated the addition of the well-thought-out cover tracks. If you’re looking to get into authentic South African worship, I would highly recommend that you give this album a try!