Note: I decided that my 150th review should be special, so I picked Sanctus Real's Fight The Tide. I reviewed Say It Loud during my first year of reviewing (2002), I interviewed Matt Hammitt & Chris Rohman in 2003, and met the band again in 2004 at the Gospel Music Association week in Nashville in April, where I saw them play a couple of times. Besides, it's all scientific: review 150 divided by 10 (12 songs minus record #2) is 15, the day in June that Fight The Tide releases, so there you go!
Sanctus Real's high-energy modern rock continues with Fight The Tide. The follow-up to their highly successful major label debut retains their sound but offers a few new twists. I'll admit that when I saw Tedd T. (Rebecca St. James, Stacie Orrico) was producing, I thought their sound might be toned down a little, but that's not the case at all. In fact, Matt Hammitt's vocals are a little edgier on several songs. Chris Rohman gets the chance to wail out some guitar solos on songs like Closer, The Show and Where Will They Go (is it just me, or are guitar solos vanishing faster than bands with unattractive lead singers?).
On Things Like You, Matt does his Jon Foreman impression on a song that could have been lifted straight from Switchfoot's Beautiful Letdown. There's more variety on this CD than I had expected, but it's good variety; current Sanctus fans will be pleased, and new fans will result as well. The final song, Say Goodbye, is the mellowest Sanctus Real song I've heard, but as Matt Hammitt says, "This is the most beautiful song on the record." It's a touching ballad Chris wrote about his great-grandmother.
Although I didn't have a formal interview scheduled at GMA in April, I had the chance to visit with all four members of Sanctus Real at various times. They seem to be the same down-to-earth guys they were more than a year ago when I interviewed the then little-known band during the See Spot Rock tour. Bassist Steve Goodrum even got stuck serving ice cream at the Curb Records dessert. Apparently he was helping himself after the server left, and some people thought he was the server. A short line quickly formed and when I arrived Steve was cheerfully serving all comers (none of whom realized who he was) as his wife watched in amusement. Finally he had to excuse himself because Sanctus Real was due on stage shortly for the World Vision showcase, where they played their hit cover of U2's Beautiful Day from the In The Name of Love: Artists United For Africa CD.
Fans of Sanctus Real and modern rock will want to pick up Fight The Tide as soon as possible. While the band released a bonus CD for Say It Loud, contributed to Veggie Rocks! and scored a hit with Beautiful Day, all of their fans were ready for this second major CD release. They won't be disappointed.
Visit: Sanctus Real.