It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since the joyous strains of Avalon’s music first filled our ears. In this time, the pop-vocal group has completed numerous projects (six studio albums, a Christmas CD, remix project and greatest hits package), gathered a number of awards, has had twenty #1 singles at radio, and a few personnel changes to boot. With all this, you would think a veteran act would “play it safe” on their seventh studio outing, right? WRONG! Stand, the newest disc from the talented foursome of Jana, Jody, Greg and Melissa finds the group “stepping out of the box” and experimenting with an edgier pop sound. Best of all, this new sound fits perfectly.
A new breath of fresh air has encompassed the group, and it can be attributed to several key factors, most notably a switch of producers and the experimentation with edgier pop rock sounds (a la Kelly Clarkson). Even with the changes, the classic Avalon sound can still be found throughout. This is most evident in the sure-to-be hit “Orphans of God”, my overall favorite track on Stand. This deep, powerful and heart-wrenching ballad, featuring the powerhouse vocals of Jana Long, expresses the truth that because God loves each and every one of us so much, “there are no strangers, no outcasts, no orphans of God.”
The newest member of the group, Greg Long, showcases strong vocal performances on the projects first single “Love Won’t Leave You” and “Slowly”, a testament to the process of growing in a relationship with Christ. Other highlights on Stand include the worshipful “Jesus”, the pop rocker “I Survive” and the closing “Where Joy And Sorrow Meet.”
As showcased on this newest release, Avalon has entered a new chapter in their musical ministry, and from the sounds of it they are having the time of their lives. This disc is by far one of their best, and most fans should agree, Stand is definitely one must-have addition for your music library.