Pieces of a Real Heart Should Quell the Questioning

Artist:  Sanctus Real

Title:  Pieces of a Real Heart

Label:  Sparrow Records

Honest prose elongates band's musical stay …

With the first single from Sanctus Real's fifth studio recording, Pieces of a Real Heart, already tearing up the charts and making an indelible impression on fans old and new, the pop/rock quintet should be mightily pleased. But with a track listing that nakedly explores the state of sin, its effect on sinners and the plight for salvation, I have a feeling the Sanctus boys were focused less on marketing strategies and more concerned about tackling the personal ups and downs of devotion to the Supernatural.

Amid bells and banjos and an unforgettably rousing chorus, "Forgiven," the aforementioned lead single, mounts to a poignant symphony of self-revelation, admitting, "I know what I've been/But here in your arms, I know what I am." "These Things Take Time" continues the learning, lyrically oscillating between vulnerable questioning ("Why am I so afraid of the dark/But I stray from the light?") and perpetual surrender ("I wanna know all the answers/But I'm learning these things take time") accompanied by the record's most straightforward and infectious track, giving the idea that doubt is not so much a passageway to disbelief but rather an entryway into faith.

"Lead Me" ushers a mid-tempo ballad akin to Mat Kearney as lead singer Matt Hammitt digs deep to dissect his role as the spiritual leader of his home. And album closer "Keep My Heart Alive" coats the band's raw prayer ("Take these empty hallelujahs/Fill my lungs again") with a moving string quartet and Hammitt's passionate vocal.

After nearly a decade in the industry and with the onslaught of trendy rock bands saturating radio and retail, Sanctus Real might wonder if it still has a relevant foothold in popular Christian music. The honest lyrical and musical charm of Pieces of a Real Heart should quell the questioning.


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**This review first published on April 1, 2010.


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