a gospel/pop/CCM surprise

Under the Influence (Myrrh)
Anointed

By Robert Gruber

It just goes to show you what preconceived notions will get you. Having never heard Anointed before, by name alone I was expecting pure gospel. When I saw their picture on the cover, I thought maybe overblown, keyboard-heavy pop schlock with wiggly vocal histrionics a la Whitney Houston. Imagine my surprise (and relief) to hear acoustic guitars and textured vocals on the first cut, "Under the Influence (acoustic)."

Bridging the gap between CCM pop and gospel R&B, Anointed has made an album that defines the word "smooth." Produced by Mark Heimermann, this album features real drums and guitars, with a good deep bass sound throughout. Vocally, the group switches easily from harmonies to solo parts within songs, and there's nary a bit of wiggly showboating to be found. I can almost sense the spirit of Al Green hovering over much of this project, especially on "Do." Two versions of the title cut, one acoustic and one electric, are both so good I can't decide which one I like better. Eleven original songs, fans of mature R&B/pop like Sade, Seal or George Benson will enjoy being Under the Influence of Anointed.