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The Face Of Love CD
Capitol Christian Music Group / 2006 / Compact disc
$8.99 (CD Price)
Save: $1.00 (10%)
$9.99 (MP3 Album Price)
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CBD Stock No: WWCD7424X
The third studio album from passionate modern rockers Sanctus Real features their emotive, thickly layered alterna-rock sound on eleven new tracks. The Face of Love features the radio hit "I'm Not Alright" as well as "Don't Give Up," "Where We Belong," and more.
Facing real life head on
Dont let the seemingly sentimental title throw you off. The third official release from Toledos own Christian rock favorite Sanctus Real is no trifle of sentimentality or romance. In fact, the opposite is true. While the last year has seen the band score a GMA Music Award for Best Alternative Album, rack up impressive sales, radio hits and popular tours, and further ensconce themselves as one of the mainstays in Christian rock, behind the scenes, the members experienced the intensity of life in all of its extremes. The joy of birth, the pain of death and all points in between took any thoughts of simple truisms or anthems to shallow faith completely off the table.
The songs presented on The Face of Love echo those experiences in the light of a defiant hope in things unseen. The opening cut (and first single), Im Not Alright, sprays tense guitar bends with obvious angst before resolving into an intimate confessional. The chorus expands again as vocalist Matt Hammitt wails, Im not alright/Im broken inside Though still anchored in the modern rock genre, the musical arrangements demonstrate more texture, melodic complexity and maturity than anything in their repertoire thus far. Producer Chris Stevens (tobyMac, Shawn McDonald) manages to prod the best performances out of each member of the ensemble while stretching the groups artistry and scope.
With a complete lack of contrivance or posturing, the songs of The Face of Love are both catchy and painfully real. The irresistibly hooky Eloquent opens with bittersweet self-deprecation as it plainly offers, Im as eloquent as an elephant/ Im as headstrong as the Mighty King Kong/On a rampage throwing airplanes/I cant believe you havent gone away. Nearly every song offers similarly honest reflections on failure and doubt but with a bold insistence that there is hope in the midst of pain.
The plaintive and raging Were Trying creates one of the high points of intensity lyrically and musically on the disc as it insists, Everyone wants reality, so here it is/I believe that nobody is good We are liars and thieves/Were destroying the peace /But were trying. As brutal as the psalmic confessions are, though, the proclamations of true, realistic faith are just as strong. The same song ends with the equally bold statement, There is nothing in our blood that makes the heart beat strong enough/Apart from grace, apart from love.
The title track offers the ultimate perspective on the problem of pain in the life of the believer. Contrasting human frailty with the unending goodness of Jesus love for sinners, the song prayerfully begs for boldness in the midst of struggle, that broken people would find peace in serving others, becoming the face of love to a hurting world. Strains of the great authors Henri Nouwen and Brennan Manning are obvious. The worshipful Magnetic and the sincere closer, Benjamin, will no doubt also serve as touchstones and mile markers in this bands career as long as it chooses to endure.
With strong writing, excellent performances and flawless execution, The Face of Love is the sound of a good band growing up and is by far the most satisfying work of its career.
JOHN J. THOMPSON CCMMagazine.com
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