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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Unveil

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 May
  • COMMENTS
Unveil
Sounds like … worshipful pop/rock that hearkens back to Jeff Deyo's time with Sonicflood, as well as the similar styles of By the Tree, Detour 180, Building 429, Joel Engle, and so many other worship artists.At a glance … Deyo's latest benefits from some impressive production touches that bring ambience to his guitar-driven approach, but the worshipful lyricism too often gravitates toward simplistic, overused expressions.Track Listing Glory Rain Down
So in Awe
I Forever
Unveil
Glory
Falling Down Like Rain
More in Love
The Love of God
Nothing on Earth
You Are God
Fall on Me

There's just no getting away from mentioning Sonicflood when discussing Jeff Deyo. And by acknowledging his place as a modern worship pioneer nearly ten years ago, it also calls attention to the fact that he has yet to craft a solo album as spirit filled and innovative as his debut with that band. A new record label (Indelible) and producer (newcomer Josh "The Kurnoll" Deane) provide an opportunity to further establish his gifts and progress from those glory days.

Unveil succeeds to some extent. Electric guitars and driving rhythms have always been at the core of Deyo's sound, and Deane retains their punch while bringing more ambience to the mix through keyboard textures. It's especially apparent in "Glory" with fidgety strings and soft keyboards, and the synth-drenched programming of "Fall on Me" also stands out (even if the song unfolds too much like Coldplay's "Fix You"). An appropriately huge anthemic chorus helps "You Are God" along, and "More in Love" packs an aggressive guitar wallop.

But despite the impressive production, Unveil fails to reveal significant artistic growth, offering little insight or personality in the songwriting to distinguish Deyo as a mainstay on the same level as Chris Tomlin or Delirious. The album thematically revolves around the lifelong process of discovering God, but the lyrics are interchangeable with simplistic and routine expressions of God's love ("Falling Down Like Rain,"), his incomparable being ("Nothing on Earth"), his vast sovereignty ("You Are God'), and Christ's return ("Glory"). Radio single "I Forever" may sound great, but any worship music newcomer could come up with "I forever praise you/I forever hold you high … I forever trust You/I forever give my life/I forever love Your name, Jesus."

Deyo is better off now that he's dropped the between-song sermonizing heard on previous albums, but he still clearly has a heart for inspiring and teaching through catchy songs. Articulating unique messages and fresh ideas would go a long way toward reestablishing this veteran as a worship music forerunner, rather than a pacesetter.

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