Album Review :
The Access - The Time Has Come

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Artist: The Access
Album: The Time Has Come
Label: Raw Music Group
Release Date: August 21, 2008
Review by: Michael Mayer III

Tracklisting:

  1. The Time Has Come
  2. Pressing On
  3. I Remember When
  4. Goodbye
  5. Broken
  6. Reflection
  7. This Generation
  8. Still in Love
  9. It’s a New Day
  10. Holding On
  11. Waiting on Love
  12. Saving Grace
  13. The Call

It’s easy to see why The Access have toured with bands like Casting Crowns and Leeland. They have a grand sound with an anointed vocalist and easily relatable lyrics fit to be sung along to. Upon first listening of their debut album, The Time Has Come, I immediately got the same feeling I had when listening to those two bands for the first time. The sound was larger than life and stirred up a wealth of emotions that resonated with my soul. That’s no small task and not one that happens often with worship focused bands nowadays. I’ve long since ditched the radio as my source of music due to its plastic nature and it takes a truly gifted band to connect with me on that level.

The first half of the album did exactly that and the trifecta of songs (‘Broken’, ‘Reflection’, and ‘This Generation’) near the middle are fantastic worship pieces far more deserving of airplay than most anything on the CCM radio stations today. The lyrics, though not at all original to this type of music, are heartfelt and I could see many young people connecting with them the same way they did with early Casting Crowns songs like ‘Does Anybody Hear Her’. A lot of the subject matter is about brokeness, running away and realizing it’s the wrong direction, and other similar subjects we’ve all heard a thousand times before. The beauty, however, is in the delivery and when The Access is firing on all cylinders it’s impossible not to be moved.

Justin Michaels has an amazingly gifted and anointed voice that can stir up the spirit in a hurry. That should surely be a prerequisite for any worship band. He has a great range too and changes it up from song to song often reminding me of the former singer of Fighting Instinct when he would belt out some high notes. It was also no surprise to see that he was from the south (Texas to be exact) since he has a hint of that southern accent that adds to his vocal delivery. It’s not as strong as, say, Third Day’s vocalist, but you can tell it’s there. Justin plays a pretty mean keyboard too, laying down some beautiful notes that really make the songs stand on their own.

Still, The Time Has Come is not without its flaws. The last half of the album meanders around a typical worship sound that is neither creative or very moving. The two softer acoustic tracks, ‘It’s a New Day’ and ‘Holding On’, are rather bland and that glaring weakness is only magnified because they are back to back. It doesn’t help that they are followed by another underwhelming slow ballad. At this point I’m wondering if the first half was a fluke and if these guys could write another moving ballad.

Fortunately, ‘Saving Grace’ came through despite the song structure being typical of a worship track with the slow build-up and high climax. The difference comes in the moving atmosphere and, naturally, Justin’s vocals soared at the end with a wonderful mix of string arrangements coming together for the crescendo. This along with the quasi-instrumental final track allowed the album to go out on a strong note showing promise for their future.

Overall: The Time Has Come starts out of the gates fast but struggles to maintain the momentum. Thirteen songs clocking in at nearly 50 minutes is a tall order for any worship album and, with a little fine tuning, this debut could’ve been so much more. As it is, The Access have created a strong foundation of potential with some of the best worship songs of the last few years. If you are in need of a worship album that, at its best moments, is stronger than the typical CCM style you can stop searching for your next purchase.

Gems of this album are: ‘Broken’, ‘Reflection’, ‘This Generation’, ‘Saving Grace’

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