RATING: (6 out of 10) RELEASE DATE: March 9th, 2010 LABEL: Sparrow Records REVIEWED ON: June 4th, 2011 REVIEWED BY: Joshua ClarkREVIEW
Sanctus Real is a five-piece pop/rock band out of Toledo, Ohio. By 2010 the band had released four previous albums on Sparrow Records and delivered their fifth off the label, Pieces of A Real Heart. The band has released some great material over the years, as well as made some tweaks to their pop/rock sound. Since their 2006 The Face of Love the band has started to steer away from their rock sound and lean a lot more heavily on the pop side of things.
The best aspect of this album would have to be lead vocalist Matt Hammitt’s lyrics. The lyrics on this album take a very worshipful turn, as the lyrics are very Christ focused. The lyrics are extremely honest and reflect on dealing with the good times and the bad. I really like the message of finding hope in the rough times and having Christ lead us through those times when things go wrong or we mess up.
For me the best songs on this album are the first four tracks, with the exception of "I'll Show You How To Live," which is towards the end. The message of the first track, “Forgiven,” is very easy to relate to. It talks about all of our failures and how we struggle with all of that pain. But the song also reflects on how we have all been forgiven by Christ and how He takes all of those wrongs away. This lyrics are very catchy and easy to sing along to.
Track two, “These Things Take Time,” is my favorite song off the album. It has very fun pop/rock sound to it. Along with that the song talks about how we all have questions in life and that as hard as we try, we aren’t going to figure out the answer to all of these questions in this life.
“The Way The World Turns” has a light rock sound to it. What I like about it the most, though, is the message in the chorus:
“Oh, it’s the way the world turns/The way, the way/And I feel the current pulling me down/Can keep the world from turning around/So I keep turning to You/I keep turning/Cuz You’re the hope of a new sunrise/Breaking over our desperate lives/And I keep on turning to You/I keep turning to You”
“Lead Me,” I would say, is easily the most honest song on the album, as Matt Hammitt examines his role as man searching for God’s direction and how he fits into this life as a husband and a father. As a ballad this song puts even more focus on the lyrics; it’s a song that really tugs at your heartstrings:
"Lead me with strong hands/Stand up when I can't/Don't leave me hungry for love/Chasing dreams, what about us?/Show me you're willing to fight/That I'm still the love of your life/I know we call this our home/But I still feel alone."
Those who like more of Sanctus Real’s rock sound will like the stronger emphasis on the electric guitar in “Take Over Me” and “I Want To Get Lost.” These two tracks are good simply for the fact that they add a little more variety in sound. I don’t think these two tracks are the best energetic tunes the band has ever written, but they are still fun nonetheless.
After these tracks I didn’t find the album to be as strong. The lyrics are still great and the tracks are very worshipful, but the songs start to have a very similar sound to each of them.
The exception, though, would be “I’ll Show You How To Live.” This song is a nice, calm ballad and has a powerful message. The lyrics talk about how much God is a part of each of our lives and loves each of us a ton even when it’s sometimes hard for us to notice.
As a whole this is still a solid release and one I keep finding myself going back to listen to. As an entire album I don’t think this is the strongest release by Sanctus Real. I think Fight The Tide or We Need Each Other were stronger albums overall. But Pieces of A Real Heart still has some very good tracks that fit in very well with Sanctus Real’s strong catalog. I like the worship feel to this album and the very personal and honest lyrics. Matt Hammitt’s voice is just as strong as ever and draws you in to each song.
For those looking for a pop worship album, this would be a good one to check out. If you’re just getting into the band, you may want to start off with Fight The Tide or We Need Each Other, especially if you like a more upbeat sound. Sanctus Real has become a seasoned band that is made up of very skilled musicians that make some great music; no matter if they are playing energetic rock tracks or laid back pop tunes, it’s all good stuff. Whatever your musical tastes are, I recommend checking out something by this band. I’m sure you will find a sound and a message that you can really get into.