Poet Voices recently returned to a quartet format with the addition of bass singer Brandon Barry. Their self-produced CD Extraordinary includes a mixture of new songs as well as a few the group has recorded over the past 15 years or so as a trio. They’ve also re-cut “Pourin’ Rain,” which was originally recorded by Mitchell Jon.
Must Buy Or Not reviews ask at least two of MusicScribe’s writers to decide if a particular CD is one they’d really want to purchase. Does Extraordinary qualify as a Must Buy? David Bruce Murray and Kyle Boreing are about to find out. Read on for their overall star ratings, highlights, dislikes, and final decisions on whether Extraordinary qualifies as a Must Buy!
Producers: Phil Cross and Donny Henderson
Song Titles: Extraordinary; Come On Children; 100 Years From Now; Hold On A Little Longer; We Say Yes; Victory Belongs To Jesus; Steppin’ Stones; You Cheer Me On; Love Is Alive Forever; Dear God; Pourin’ Rain; Trust In You
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (David); 3 Stars (Kyle)
David Bruce Murray:
- The title song, “Extraordinary,” has all the characteristics you’d expect in a song written by Phil Cross. The internal rhymes, upbeat tempo, and four-part harmonies make it a great opener for the CD.
- I enjoyed “Hold On A Little Longer” when Poet Voices recorded it as a trio in 2004, but I like it even more with a bass singer of Barry’s caliber taking the melody.
- The remake of Todd Dulaney’s “Victory Belongs To Jesus” is a nice translation of a contemporary worship song to a male quartet format. It’s Henderson’s best vocal performance on Extraordinary, and somehow, I don’t even mind that it runs rather long at 5 minutes and 46 seconds.
- I really enjoyed the retro Fender Rhodes sound on “Pourin’ Rain,” which had a nice, laid-back feel.
- I’ve had “Come On Children” playing at random in my head. It’s not the greatest track on the album, but it’s fun, catchy, and memorable.
- Brandon Barry is an able bass singer, but he really shines on “Love Is Alive Forever,” where he gets to show off his baritone range.
David Bruce Murray:
- I’m disappointed any time songwriters and musicians are not acknowledged in a CD’s packaging. When a prominent songwriter owns the group, it’s even more baffling that this choice was made.
- To my ear, the high frequencies on the percussion could use a slight boost. The cymbals don’t sizzle, at least not on some songs.
- Both Nic Holland and Phil Cross have too much strain in their tone for my taste.
- Unlike DBM, I was not a fan of “Victory Belongs To Jesus.” It just felt too repetitive for my liking.
- Using older tracks on some titles meant that production quality differed between songs. It’s most noticeable on “Hundred Years From Now.”
- Despite the vocals being auto-tuned (rather obviously at times), there are spots where there are some over-shot notes. I’m all for natural (if somewhat imperfect) vocals, but when some are over-tuned and others are missed entirely, it’s inconsistent.
David Bruce Murray: No. I’d buy “Extraordinary,” “Hold On A Little Longer” and “Victory Belongs To Jesus” for sure as singles, but I can’t see myself listening to the entire CD often enough to justify buying the whole thing.
Kyle Boreing: No. Like DBM, I’d purchase a few songs ala carte, but there’s not enough solid material here for me to recommend purchasing it. I am going to add an addendum, however, that I would add most of the album to my gospel music streaming playlist.