Nothing New Under the Sun

Portable Sounds (Gotee Records)

By Kory Wilcoxson

From his early days as the rapping third of the Christian trio DC Talk, TobyMac has built a reputation based on boldness, creativity and innovation. His first two solo albums, "Momentum" and "Welcome to Diverse City," showed that TobyMac was continuing to blaze trails in Christian music that at times outshined similar secular sounds.

So it's sadly ironic that the main downfall of TobyMac's new album, Portable Sounds, is its uniformity. The last think you'd expect from him is a cookie-cutter sound, but, save for a few afterthought tracks like "No Signal," much of "Portable Sounds" is formulaic.

That doesn't mean the music is in any way of poor quality. TobyMac's skills as a beat-dropper and producer have never been better. The problem is that songs like "No Ordinary Love" and "Suddenly" are too similar in sound and style to make an impression. TobyMac's problem may be that he set the bar too high with his first two albums. By not being able to live up that this time around, all he's given us is a bunch of interchangeable sounds.