Sanctus Real formed in Toledo, Ohio in 1996. They released their major label debut SAY IT LOUD in 2002. Some of their better known songs are ‘I’m Not Alright’, ‘We Need Each Other’, and ‘Lead Me’. RUN (2013, Sparrow Records) is their sixth studio album. The three producers used were Jason Ingram, Seth Mosley, and Christopher Stevens. Lead guitarist Chris Rohman shares: “Making music for the sake of making music never made sense to us. Our mission was so clear at the beginning it was almost unspoken. It has been so natural for us to create music that reflects a life lived through faith in God.”
The title track ‘Run’ is a song of encouragement: “Don’t lose heart when you’re feeling low/When the road looks long and you don’t know/If you have the strength to make it home/You’re not on your own/You gotta run, run, run/Into the arms/You gotta run, run, run/Into the arms/You’ve gotta run, run, run/Into the arms of love.” ‘On Our Own’ is a strong statement regarding our total dependence on Christ: “We cannot make it on our own/We need You everywhere we go/You are the hope of so much more/Jesus, without You/We cannot make it on our own.”
‘Promises’ is the album’s great lead single. It begins with these words all can relate to: “Sometimes it’s hard to keep believing/In what you can’t see/That everything happens for a reason/Even the worst life brings.” The song goes on to offer this advice: “If you’re reaching for an answer/And you don’t know what to pray/Just open up the pages/Let His Word be your strength/And hold on to the promises.” Lead singer Matt Hammitt says: “Prayer is something that a lot of people, including myself, struggle to prioritize. Our hope is that this song encourages people to cry out to God about what’s going on in their lives and in the world.” ‘Pray’ is an adult contemporary ballad. Here are some of the words: “I’ve failed to find the time/But You’ve been calling out/I let the days go by/As if I could live without/But it’s gotta be here and now/I won’t be pulled away/’Cause it’s just you and I/So let the world around us fade.”
‘We Will Never Give Up’ is another adult contemporary ballad. It speaks of a single-minded spiritual vision: “We will fix our eyes on the One who lasts forever/We will hold on tight to the only real treasure/We will not lose heart/We will not lose hope/We will give our lives to the One who will last forever.” ‘Nothing Between’ admits to a certain amount of frustration with God and His ways: “I’m miles away/From seeing the story You’re writing/When You give and You take/It’s hard to embrace Your timing/When I’m watching the walls/Burn to the ground around me/I just want to know what it is/You’re trying to show me.”
A lovely love song ‘Commitment’, penned solely by Matt Hammitt, is next: “Oh, I want to finish/The life we’ve started/I want to be two old beautiful souls/Who stayed with it/And in those times our feelings fade/I’m gonna give you the one thing/That makes all the difference/Commitment.” Sarah Macintosh is one of the co-writers of the fresh, upbeat pop song ‘Keep Me Young’. It is about having a love relationship with our God: “You’re the fountain everyone’s after/The promise of love forever/Time slips away/But You’re holding me/So it’s all right/There’s nothing more sure than this romance/Nothing better than my heart in Your hands/Who can keep me from a love that lasts?/No one can.”
‘One of Those Things’ reveals what’s at the heart of this band: “I’m gonna tell you why we keep on singing about/Love and faith in the things that so many people doubt/Oh, there’s a fire in us that burns from the inside out/And we don’t need to water it down.” ‘Better Than This’ is a happy sounding number that speaks of a peace that passes understanding: “It burns deep inside/Changes your world one day at a time/It grows in your soul/And it reaches the places you thought you could hide/Joy make you shout into the silence/Makes you want to dance in the hardest times.”
Jonathan Smith plays mandolin on ‘Picture of Grace’. This song contains the following admission that we need divine intervention: “We believe in something bigger than our own lives/We’ll keep reaching/For Someone who’s stronger than you and I/We need a Savior/The One who can heal what is broken tonight/Just one touch/Just one word could set everything right.” The following words from ‘You are God’ should keep us from spiritual pride: “You saved us not because/Of anything that we have done/But only by Your mercy/And Your great love.”
There is no doubt that the musicianship here is skillful and that the vocals are smooth and easy to listen to. There are a lot of songs here well suited for daytime Christian radio and that are family friendly. I’m rating RUN 82%. Fans of artists such as Matthew West, U2, and Newsboys will enjoy this one. For more info visit www.sanctusreal.com and www.sparrowrecords.com.