40 Hymns for Forty Days
2015 / Stone Angel Music
Disc 1: 55 minutes
Disc 2: 55 minutes
Review by Michael Debbage
It has been since 2011 that we have received an album of full original material in the form of the exquisite New Life. Since then Cardall has released 2014’s compilation Saving Tiny Hearts and then began to announce his orchestrated new creation 40 Hymns for Forty Days. Needless to say the anticipation of a fully orchestrated album was exciting and enticing. Add the double album concept it appeared was going to be a very ambitious creation.
For the most part 40 Hymns for Forty Days lives up to its expectations however double albums are a tough sell especially when the hymnal theme has already been explored by many artists but also previously by Cardall. Nevertheless, Cardall does well to limit repeat hymnal visits especially on disc one and the results are sensational when the string arrangements and orchestration of Marshall McDonald are embraced. Unfortunately Cardall and the strings tend to hug like a friend versus the full embrace like lovers do. The deeper the use of the orchestration results in much more expressive moments such as the gorgeous “Sweet Hour Of Prayer” and the equally expressive “Jesus Said Love Everyone” and “High On A Mountain Top” all on disc one.
Disc two opens with “Now Let Us Rejoice” with supple strings and then proceeds into Cardall’s delicate piano work. The remainder of the music continues this process with limited orchestration and the gorgeous playing of Cardall and while the moments certainly excel there is a sense that you are awaiting for the album to kick into second gear but unfortunately it does not happen. So if you are looking more to retreat and meditate versus bringing the roof down to worship then there is no doubt that this will be a joyous listening experience.
Needless to say 40 Hymns For Forty Days is yet again another wonderful album from Paul Cardall. However, with the hymnal theme already explored courtesy on The Hymns Collection as well as Cardall sprinkling the orchestration arrangements here versus immersing himself within them perhaps the expectation did not quite live up to its complete pre-expectation. But this does not take away from the fact that Paul Cardall has once again created a beautiful album.
September 24, 2014