A "must-own" for 2013 | Posted February 26, 2013 Staff Reviewer
It's certainly been a whirlwind several years for Sanctus Real. Although their career as a band has spanned 16 years and produced multiple highly acclaimed projects, their first real break came in 2010 with Pieces Of A Real Heart, featuring the smash hit, "Lead Me."
The success didn't come without its fair share of struggles however. Lead vocalist Matt Hammitt and his wife welcomed their son, Bowen, in late 2010, who was born with a severe heart defect and required numerous open heart surgeries in his first few years of his life. As Bowen began to recover against all odds, another tragedy struck. In 2012, the group's tour bus burst into flames while they and several of their children were all asleep inside. Miraculously, no one was hurt, but the bus was a total loss.
You'd think all this opposition would dampen their spirits to continue on. Not so much. Known for the brutal transparency in their lyrics, the guys of Sanctus Real took these trials as an opportunity to grow in their relationship with God and further their understanding of His plan for lives--both as a band and as individuals. That season of chaos birthed the songs on their latest project, Run, an album full of honesty, hope and healing.
The title track "Run" starts things off on a bouncy note, immediately sucking you in with the catchy chorus. It encourages us to rise from the ashes of the past and run into the arms of love.
"On Our Own" is my personal favorite track on the album. Distinct from their past work but with that same familiar Sanctus style, it possesses an underlying pop beat while offering the message that we can't do life on our own and need the hand of a Savior to guide us through.
The album's anthemic first single, "Promises," delivers next. Clinging to God's promises in their own lives, the band encourages others to do so too with lyrics like: "All things work for the good of those who love God / He holds back nothing that would heal you, not even His own Son."
"Pray" comes as the heart cry of someone at a total loss for words. Not sure how or what to say, the poignant lyrics remind us that our prayers need to be real, not refined. This would fair well as a radio single. "We Will Never Give Up" offers hope, declaring no matter what trails may come against us, we will press on for the glory of God.
Folksy toe-tapper "Nothing Between" is a conviction to allow nothing between our relationship with Christ. The moving "Commitment" can almost be seen as a sequel to "Lead Me," it being about staying committed in our relationships and not backing down when times get tough: "I wanna finish the life we started / I wanna be two old, beautiful souls who stayed with it / And in those times our feelings fade, I'm gonna give you the one thing that makes all the difference, commitment."
"Keep Me Young," while not classified as a worship song, will surely lead the listener into an uplifting time of surrender, talking about how the love of Christ is the only love worth discovering. "One Of Those Things" is a rallying cry for believers to continue to pursue their God given calling, even when opposition tries to hinder them.
Going back to their old-school grinding rock sound, "Better Than This" will be sure to get you on your feet with its feel-good vibes, while "Picture Of Grace" is a weighty piece that confronts discouragement, and how in the future, the battles we face today will all make sense--painting a mighty picture of God's redemptive grace.
"You Are God" brings the project home on a worshipful note. Coming back to the idea of "Promises," most of the lyrics are pulled right from scripture, reminding us of God's marvelous presence in our lives.
Expectations were high for this album after the success of Pieces Of A Real Heart, and I'm happy to report, Sanctus Real has delivered. Run is a powerful project that shows an incredible maturity in the band's style and songwriting.
Never shying away from hard topics, this album offers authenticity with a shimmering glimmer of hope in each song, making it one of the "must-own" albums of 2013. I applaud the band on their desire to write music that ignores popular trends and focuses more on touching the hearts of people. With Run, they've absolutely accomplished that.