The Dream is Alive
Posted September 15, 2014
By SarahFine_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Just two years shy of their last album Run, offering the popular singles "Promises" and "Pray," the five piece group of Ohio-based rockers known as Sanctus Real are back with their latest effort, 2014's The Dream.
Joined by new members Jake Rye (bass) and Seth Huff (guitar), band mainstays Chris Rohman (guitar), Mark Graalman (drums), and frontman Matt Hammitt deliver 12 new tracks, promising to add yet another layer of depth to their ever assailable themes.
The title track "The Dream" starts off on a moody and slightly electronic note. It's a nod to the familiar vibe of Sanctus Real back in the day, but boasts an apparent maturity: "The dream is alive, I feel it inside / When You're close, I see the light."
The electronic influence doesn't stop there. Songs like "Easier On My Heart," "One Word At A Time," and most notably "I Need You" run with the current musical trend, while still managing to keep their core originality intact. Nothing ever feels forced--a difficult feat in today's musical climate.
Much like their last few albums, the band balances their introspective tunes with songs that could easily fall into the category of contemporary worship. "Same God" is a prime example of this. With the likeability of a rousing toe-tapper, the vertical chorus proclaims God's steady sovereignty: "We are united by the same life giving us a reason, same love giving us our freedom, same God that we believe in / Same way leading us to heaven, same hope holding us together, same God always, forever."
The song I feel best reflects the group here all around is found with the retrospective "33," invoking the nostalgia of a mother's prayer having been answered in the life of her child, who despite challenges, has stayed the course of faith. Matt Hammitt is arguably one of the industry's most candid songwriters, and does a brilliant job of weaving yet another tale of poignant personal vulnerability.
As someone who reviewed Sanctus Real's prior release last February, I was taken back by how drastically their sound had evolved since 2010's Pieces Of A Real Heart, mostly in their choice to stray from their alternative rock roots and headed more into adult contemporary territory. It would appear as if the AC sound is here to stay with The Dream, and while the band pulls it off successfully, I'd be amiss if I didn't acknowledge the grittier void. Those who became listeners because of their hit song "Lead Me" several years ago are sure to enjoy this album, but I can imagine fans of the original Sanctus sound may have a harder time coping with the direction.
That being said, the growth they've experienced as songwriters is spellbinding. Personal life events and tribulations have left each individual member with more to say than ever before, acknowledging life's brokenness while still standing on God's unchanging promises. This is a solid release from one of Christian music's most established acts.
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