The Face of Love
Having evolved from power pop to heavier rock back to melodic modern fare, Sanctus Real blend the styles of their previous two efforts on The Face of Love. The quartet takes listeners on a journey to a sonic realm of introspection, restlessness, and unresolved pondering as only they can do. If you swirled together Switchfoot's The Beautiful Letdown, Jars of Clay's Good Monsters and U2's How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, the concoction would sound much like this. The influences don't stop there, as traces of Dashboard Confessional, Nine Days, Jeremy Camp, Mae, and others blend seamlessly together. The impetus for a more mid-tempo, insightful record came as band members dealt with difficult circumstances in their personal lives. Drummer Mark Graalman's father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away merely two months later. Original bass player Steve Goodrum was replaced by Dan Gartley. And vocalist Matt Hammitt's grandmother passed away after an ordeal in hospice care. This explains the unsettledness of Face of Love and the absence of more peppy material to rival the hooks on their debut Say It Loud. Still, Hammitt's vocals are so rich and mature that he could practically sing a computer owner's manual to rave reviews. Producer Chris Stevens (Shawn McDonald, Tobymac) was a catalyst in evoking the boys' raw emotions both lyrically and musically. The challenge in presenting this personal material came in meeting expectations of another rock-hard outing.