VOTA’s 2009 self-titled album is a debut release, sort of. Previously known as Casting Pearls, the Christian pop-rock trio (now a quartet) decided to change its name to avoid confusion with the hugely popular Casting Crowns. The music here shows considerable savvy and flair, harkening back to ’90-era Newsboys with touches of Hawk Nelson and Sanctus Real thrown in. VOTA is heavily into big crowd-rousing numbers, kicked off by brash guitars and pulsating synthesizers. “Hard to Believe,” “Not Finished,” “Give It To Me,” and “Love’s Taken Over” are prime examples of the band’s skill at crafting chant-along expressions of faith and reverence. Singer/guitarist Bryan Olesen tones down his playful swagger just enough to deliver ballads like “Honestly” and “In My Heart” with a sense of inner reflection. Unexpected touches — such as the Latin-cum-Middle-Eastern ambiance of “Bye Bye” — add some variety to the power-poppy thrust of the album. Wrapped inside these buoyant, nearly hyperactive sounds are serious Christ-centered lyrics — “Save Ourselves,” for instance, reaffirms man’s helplessness without God, and VOTA works well as a sustained jolt of faith-affirming fun.