Sound — 9
It is possible that after over a decade of music-making at the highest level of christian music, Tobymac has finally run out of ideas for new sounds and styles. However, those that know him will undoubtedly tell you the rich diversity in his music, and how no two albums sound the same, both in the dcTalk days, nor in his solo career. In fact, Portable Sounds appears to be a musical conclusion to his career (though I hope this is not the case), as he draws from every style he has written and played down the years, and compiled it into one album. At times, you can almost imagine the wailing voice of Kevin Max providing a harmony to the main meoldy, though this is not the case. Spanning from a pop-punk styled 'Suddenly', to a hip-hop/pop/rock combination in 'Boomin' and 'Made to Love' (two of the album's highlights), this album will continue to pleasantly surrpise.
Lyrics — 8
Tobymac has always been one of the best writers in the CCM industry, perhaps only second to Matt Thiessen of Relient K, and this shows once again in his new album. Lyrical highlights are the infectious melodies 'Made to Love' and 'Lose My Soul', two songs aimed heavenwards, confession and love songs to his Creator. This contrasts harmoniously with the rawkus 'Ignition' and party anthem 'Boomin', both which demand second listens for their lyrical content, if not purely for their musical aestheticity. As good as ever!
Overall Impression — 10
For those that enjoyed the dcTalk era, this album sounds enough like them to keep you enthralled, but diverse enough to keep you curious. For those that have a mild interest in either dcTalk or Tobymac, do not let this album pass you by, it's as good as 'Jesus Freak' or 'Welcome to Diverse City' (though will not surpass the greatness of the former). If you are not a christian, this album may be too religious for your liking, but it's still worth a listen if only for the appreciation of talent. This is most certainly one of the best albums to come out of Forefront Records for a while.