Every time I listened to Sanctus Real's new album, We Need Each Other, there would come a moment when I had to say to myself, "No, this isn't a Newsboys album." That in and of itself does not make this a bad album, and there are several strong tracks on this effort and a continuation of Sanctus' enduring themes of faith and connectedness. But it is a little disappointing that a group that's spent three albums developing its own voice has slipped into appropriating another group's sound.
Of course, there are far worse things than saying someone's music sounds like one of the most melodic and popular bands in the history of Christian rock. And that is one of the things that creates such an echo with the boys from Australia. Over three previous albums, that melodic, poppy thing has been the sound Sanctus has been working toward and ultimately achieves on this disc, which should see at least half of its contents arrive on Christian pop charts -- The title track is already there, Sing and Turn Out the Lights are prime candidates. The group also benefits from rousing background vocals and a dual guitar section of Chris Rohman and Pete Prevost that give numerous tracks a rousing, anthemic quality. We Need Each Other has a lot of upside. There are just moments like a choppy guitar part here and there or the way lead singer Matt Hammitt rounds the word "radio" in Turn on the Lights that sound so Peter Furler . . . With its fourth album, Sanctus Real has achieved the sound its been looking for, it's just not quite an individual sound, yet.
Also out today: Advent, incorporating numerous members of the now defunct Beloved, releases its Solid State Records debut, Remove the Earth; Natalie Grant is out with Relentless and Newworldson's Salvation Station hits the shelves.
CONCERTS THIS WEEK
Two local shows have popped up this week:
~ The Ichthus Festival born-and-raised Ascenxion Band, featuring Shake Anderson, is having a CD release party at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Vineyard Community Church, 817 Winchester Road. Admission is $10, with two canned goods for USA Harvest.
~ Family Force 5, Falling Up, Spoken and This Beautiful Republic play the Eagle Lake Convention Center in Lawrenceburg at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.