Review Rating: Catch It On The Radio (3.6 / 5)
There is something powerful about the live worship experience. It's mesmerizing, inspiring even, to stand in a massive place with hundreds or thousands of people, all worshiping Jesus Christ and declaring His glory. Elevation Worship offers such an experience, spending an entire night leading praise and worship, and celebrating our Savior's incredible power. It's difficult, however, to translate the live experience over to a recording - though many of the songs are well-done, there are details that prevent listeners from fully engaging in the collection. Regardless, There Is A Cloud has many excellent tracks that, with a little extra polishing, could form a solid and engaging album.
The title track opens listeners to a calm and gentle atmosphere of worship. Keyboard notes blend with guitar notes, setting a foundation for the rest of the track. Drawing on themes of rain, the song declares the torrential blessings of God, an excellent way to prime listeners for the remainder of the album. Though the song is a little on the lengthy side and the instrumental variation could be further developed, "There Is A Cloud" serves its purpose well.
Continuing the reflective atmosphere is "Do It Again." The calm melody remains, with heavy keyboard and gentle electronic emphasis guided by the beats of a drum. Its lyrics describe God's power and the hope we can have in Him. "I've seen You move, You move the mountains, and I believe I'll see You do it again" the lyrics proclaim, a testimony of our Savior's provision. The song is beautiful, but right around the halfway point, the sounds and repeated lyrics become a little tiresome. With a six and a half minute run time, the effect just isn't quite as powerful. Unfortunately, the effect is compounded with the following track - "Do It Again (Reprise)." An unnecessary addition to the album, the reprise simply repeats the final two and a half minutes of the original for three and a half minutes. The result is a ten-minute track that sadly drowns out the effects of the track.
If anything, the song runtimes all but sever the effects of the songs. Averaging about six minutes per song, listeners simply grow tired of the sounds and redundant lyrics. Songs like "Fullness" and "Uncontainable Love" declare the abundance and majesty of God, but finishing the song becomes harder as audiences advance through each track. In a live worship setting, tracks above four or five minutes are good for giving listeners a moment to reflect and worship, as the sense of fellowship and magnitude provide an environment. "Mighty Cross" is one such song that powerfully resounds in a stadium, but does not convey that magnitude on a recording. If Elevation Worship had reduced the runtimes by a few minutes per song in the studio, their power and impact would last longer.
Other tracks become far too repetitive with the verses. In a live setting, repeated verses allow listeners to latch onto key parts and reflect, but in a recording, the repetition slowly turns to dissonance. Likewise, the melody does not develop beyond anything more than a background sound - save "Uncontainable Love" and "Grateful," where the opening electronics only serve to pump up listeners. The repetition is the largest stumbling point in "Do It Again, "None," and "Overcome." There is some excellent material across the tracks, but separated by repeated lyrics, melodies, and extensive runtimes, the effect feels far too watered down.
Frankly, There Is A Cloud is a mixed bag. If anything, the album feels clouded by stylistic details that have built up too far now for the entire collection to be enjoyed together. Many of the tracks have beautiful moments that captivate and inspire listeners, but the oversaturated nature of the album makes it hard for those moments to truly resonate.