"Run" To Get This Album | Posted January 15, 2013 Staff Reviewer
It's been nearly three years since we had some new material from Sanctus Real. After lead singer Matt Hammitt took time to focus on a solo project inspired by experiences with his third child, Bowen, he has some new songs to sing reflecting the turmoil and grace experienced since their last release.
Fans won over to Sanctus Real by the more pop-oriented selections from 2010's Pieces of a Real Heart will immediately connect to the gentler sound of Run. The opening title track ("Run") is a simple, well-spoken reminder to "run into the arms of love." This selection sets the tone for an album that takes simple truths and presents them with a clear perspective tempered by grace. "On Our Own" employs a slightly lonely, vulnerable melody to carry the message of our inability to make it through life without the support of others.
The lead single, "Promises," is a catchy but comforting call to hold to the promises given by God in the Bible. The refrain could easily be an anthem for the church in the midst of uncertain world events: "Jesus is alive so hold tight / hold on to the promises."
"Pray" is a soft but dynamic song imploring God to meet the singer even when he has no more words to say. "We Will Never Give Up" is a dose of encouragement in the same musical vein as past hit "Forgiven," though this song's scope is wider and more anthemic. "Nothing Between" is the first selection with a more energetic rock vibe reminiscent of older albums The Face of Love and We Need Each Other. The lyrics focus on trust in the dark paths, beautifully culminating in the declaration, "I want nothing between my soul and my Savior."
"Commitment" thematically complements past single "Lead Me." The honest track highlights essential elements of a marriage that endures, rooted in God's grace and faithfulness. "Keep Me Young" explores the idea of our eternal God being the true "fountain of youth," providing us with eternal life. "One of Those Things" is an upbeat, hopeful song about the way God is relentless in reaching our hearts.
An almost classic rock styled cadence carried by hearty guitar riffs gives "Better Than This" a feel-good vibe that would be perfect for the live show setting. "Picture of Grace" slows the tone down again, taking a more narrative approach to the lyrics. Gentle instrumentation backs a beautiful picture of a husband and wife united in their acceptance of grace. "You Are God" closes the standard release of the album on a worshipful note, acknowledging God's holiness and sovereignty without sacrificing a sense of personal interaction with Him.
The bonus tracks provide a mix of themes, ranging from the whimsical "One More Show" (reminiscing about days touring in a rundown van) to the lovely piano ballad "Sanctuary" (which creates the title's peace and stillness in musical form). "Love You Tightly" is a wistful but tender song from a dad to his children, focusing on the need to "love you tightly but hold you loosely, ‘cause you were never mine." "That's Life" is an intensely honest song about life's contrast, the joy and the struggle.
Run is an intensely hopeful album that captures joy in musical form without oversimplifying the truths it presents. Matt Hammitt's gentle but soaring vocals are stronger than ever, carrying the songs over the more pop-oriented guitar beds laid down by guitarists Chris Rohman and Pete Prevost. This album is diverse enough to stay interesting through the 12-track standard length, but still musically grounded and cohesive. The songs shine as gentle reminders of hope in a hurting world, with every layer of each song saturated by grace.