A new recording from the students of Sydney Missionary and Bible College (and named for the college’s street address), Badminton Road offers us a mix of songs and styles over its six tracks.*

It bursts open with a driving version of “Crown Him with Many Crowns”, which, while it is not uncommon nowadays for Christian artists to record modernised versions of old hymns, is done especially well. There is an edge to this track that is too often missing in Christian music, and is confidently led by the drums through several quite different phases: from a percussive march at the start through to straight rock at the end. The bass gets taken out for a little walk part way through too and that’s a nice, fun flourish that only adds to the positive energy. This is an easy one to sing along to with some enthusiasm.

Moving into the four original tracks that make up the body of the release, and there is a big change of tone towards a more gentle and acoustic feel with devotional and doxological lyrics. The sincerity can be almost felt in “Remember” with its tight, shuffling beat and “We Will Declare Your Glory” has an easy, strummy, swaying feel to it. “You Are The God Who Saves Me” is a particularly intriguing crossover between an old “Muse” track (especially with its harmonised vibrato lead lines that float over the rhythm between the verses) and a super-hit from a Disney musical! It took me back for a few repeat listens.

The last track is a fresh version of “Behold Our God” which stands out for two reasons: first, because it returns to some of the energy and creatively confident musicality of the opening number; second, because, after the initial verse is sung in English, the remainder of the song comes in a number of different languages by different vocalists who in the end all join together as a great multitude offering their praise to God. Of course, this is making a powerful statement about the worldwide scope of the gospel message—something that directly resonates with the century-long work of Sydney Missionary and Bible College—and giving suggestion of what we might all be part of when every tribe and tongue praises Jesus on the last day.

Will this multi-language singing make it harder for those who don’t already know the words? If so, the problem is alleviated through the supply of a fully captioned YouTube version of the song which gives the words in both the sung tongue and in English—and all set against some breathtaking visual backdrops. The final frames of this clip are beautiful and powerful as they give the parallel text of all the voices coming together followed by the text of Revelation 7:9–10.

Overall, Badminton Road is a well-produced, theologically sound, easy to listen to offering. It will be a great addition to the music collection of many worshipping believers.

This itself is noteworthy as many of today’s albums tend to be somewhat bound by genre.