New and noteworthy | WORLD
Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

New and noteworthy

MUSIC | Reviews of four albums

New and noteworthy
You have {{ remainingArticles }} free {{ counterWords }} remaining. You've read all of your free articles.

Full access isn’t far.

We can’t release more of our sound journalism without a subscription, but we can make it easy for you to come aboard.

Get started for as low as $3.99 per month.

Current WORLD subscribers can log in to access content. Just go to "SIGN IN" at the top right.


Already a member? Sign in.

Whom Have I in Heaven but You? 

Berlin Psalm Projekt

The initials of the missionary organization to which the vocalist Ali Maegraith belongs—ECM Australia—stand for “equip,” “connect,” and “multiply,” so it’s logical to expect this jazz “projekt” to align with such goals. Only it doesn’t, at least not obviously. Incongruous though it may seem for a collection of psalms set to music (five in English, two in German), it’s nightclubs more than churches that Maegraith’s slinky singing and her combo’s exploratory playing evoke. “Psalm 66: Shout for Joy to God!” could even pass muster in New Orleans. So it ticks the “connect” box. Sometimes it thinks outside it.

Mat Kearney

Mat Kearney

Yacht-rock ambience, slacker-pop beats, Jamaican and Polynesian rhythms, breezy hooks, lyrics celebrating long-term love, a closer that cites a Journey song but that emanates from Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California”—Kearney has made the feel-good album of the summer. Only in the story song “Drowning in Nostalgia” does something darker this way come: Haunted by memories of literal and metaphorical fires, a man “stuck at 17” struggles to get himself unstuck, and whether he’ll succeed nobody knows.

The Horn of Salvation

Andrae Murchison

You want unique? How about gospel jazz made up of little more than overdubbed baritone horns and intermittent background vocals with no one singing lead? Murchison, who also records with combos under the name “Murch Church,” describes the album as a “solo horn revival of praise and musical communion of salvation” and a “musical reflection on Luke 1:67-80 and a dedication to the prayers of [his] guardian angels.” He makes no mention of his occasional Burt Bacharach–­worthy melodies, but they’re there.



The complaints greeting this band’s first album in six years and first without its original drummer have to do with the music’s lacking a sense of reinvention. The praise has to do with how well the three original members still do what they do, cameo vocalists and all, three decades after their debut. Both camps have a point. And nu-metal-meets-rap-loving kids making P.O.D.’s acquaintance for the first time won’t care about either. No, there’s nothing “nu” going on, and, yes, what’s going on—whether timely (“Just ’cause you’re speaking your truth don’t really make it true”) or timeless (“The grass still withers, and the flower falls”)—is needed now more than ever.

Beach Boys

Beach Boys Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


It’s not strictly true to say that the new Beach Boys documentary from Disney+ stops at 1974—we see the Boys playing a Reagan-era Fourth of July show, and “Kokomo” plays over the credits. Nor is it strictly true that Capitol’s digital-­only Music From the Documentary is music from the documentary—the soggy ecology song “Don’t Go Near the Water,” a footnote in the film, is included twice, and “Kokomo” gets replaced by Stephen Sanchez’s effervescent but non-documentary “Baby Blue Bathing Suit.”

What is true is that, Sanchez aside, the sound­track contains no previously unreleased material. What’s also true is that, as 80-minute playlists go, it does a fair job of framing the Beach Boys’ greatest hits while giving some of their deep cuts (Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin’s “Here She Comes”) and eccentricities their due. The organ-and-backing-vocals-only version of “A Day in the Life of a Tree,” heretofore buried on Disc 4 of the Feel Flows box, could make an avant-­gardist smile. —A.O.

Arsenio Orteza

Arsenio is a music reviewer for WORLD Magazine and one of its original contributors from 1986.



Please wait while we load the latest comments...