Australian talent Planetshakers are not so much a band, but more a charismatic, worship outfit springing from one of the most well-known churches in the country. Their latest album, This Is Our Time, has smashed the charts worldwide, and the fifteen track collection of live tunes has been their most successful to date. Hitting #1 on the iTunes charts in Australia, South Africa, Malaysia and Singapore, and breaking the Top 10 in the USA, New Zealand, Canada, Indonesia, Columbia and The Netherlands, Planetshakers are currently on a world tour over 10 countries. Their fame and iconic sound is expanding at a rapid rate. In their latest offering, we see a team who have attuned and perfected their sound, giving us songs which culminate in a distinct dance/electro feel with soaring anthems that will empower and encourage listeners.
The title track, “This Is Our Time” opens the album, and we are given an infectious track that will compel you to get out of your seat and dance. The intricate work on the piano and drums fill the track, yet the band carries the ability to cut and bring in varying sounds throughout a single song and this is what makes their music unique. Joth Hunt’s lead vocals are a driving force through the album, and his energy contributes to the intentionality of the lyrics and the band’s mission to engage listeners.
Transitioning seamlessly into “Joy,” a quirky electro sound meets with one of their trademark guitar lines, and the energy cultivated in the first track increases. With simple lyrics, this track won’t capture you on a poetic level. That being said, it carries the message of a hope and happiness found in the Christian faith well, and the repetition and ease of the bridge line “You’ve turned my sadness into gladness, you’ve turned my sorrow into joy,” makes it perfect for congregational worship within churches. “My Heart Is Alive” carries a heavier guitar line, breaking down in the chorus to form an anthem celebrating Christ’s love. A softer and more reflective tone is then introduced with “Leave Me Astounded.” We see the music pulled back, inviting the listener to engage with the lyrics. As the song progresses, the instrumentation increases, and this adds to the power of the song.
“Covered” continues with this mellow sound, and the male lead brings a depth to the song reminiscent of Planetshakers’ earlier discography. A piano line takes us into “Stronger Than A Thousand Seas,” and we are given a sweet tune which taps into the heart of the band. Singing, “Your love, higher than the heavens, stronger than a thousand seas,” the song avoids the quirks of becoming cliché through the sincerity of the vocalists and the ease with which people can join the band in this tribute to God. “The Water Is Rising,” has a cool guitar line and an eerie opening melody which makes way for a different and unique addition to the album. With all three of these tracks being penned by worship leader and pastor Sam Evans with Grammy award winner Israel Houghton, these will be a hit with fans.
“It’s Your Love” has a slightly more stripped back feel on its opening, but it soon turns into a dance anthem that will have the rise and fall in melody of “It’s your lo-o-o-o-ve” staying in your head long after the song is over. Props also need to be given to the keyboardist who is evidently a whiz as shown by their line in the bridge, making this track a standout. A party song, “Sing It Again,” is designed to get you up and moving. The drum adds an intricacy to this track, and mixed with catchy lyrics this will be a favorite for many teens. The tone is brought down again with “You,” and they capture the listener’s heart with their heart felt lyrics.
Following with “Holy,” this is very much a continuation of the atmosphere cultivated in the previous track, and we are given an almost ethereal sound in the tones of a new female lead. The change from the traditional female vocal lead gives this tune a fresh sound; the powerhouse vocals add a new layer to the album. “He Touched Me” has lightness in the keys previously not displayed, and this track acts as a bridge to establish the spiritual significance of this album. “Your Presence” continues this, and fans of classic Planetshakers tunes will enjoy the well-rounded musicianship and strong leading by Joth within this song.
Lifting up the tempo, “Look To You” brings the drums and guitar with force, and as they enter the chorus we hear one of most catchy and well-done tracks on the album. Concluding the live recording with “Abba Father,” the sound of strings and classic piano nearly creates a traditional aesthetic that will calm you. The softness in vocals as they sing about the character of God is fitting, and is an important addition to the release.
This Is Our Time is capturing people around the globe because of its catchy hooks, easy to sing lyrics and the commitment of the band. In terms of originality, this album is a continuation of their releases Limitless and Endless Praise, and we see Planetshakers continue to develop their dance sound. As a fan of their earlier work, I find their simpler tunes which draw on soaring melodies and strong vocals the best aspect of this album. That being said, Planetshakers show us a finely tuned and well-practiced craft within this album, and as time progresses, we can only hope to see more of them. The up-and-coming musicians take the reins in vocals and songwriting as they continue to take ground in the church music scene.