Formerly known as Casting Pearls, VOTA is ready to release their debut album. Along with a name change,
VOTA has made somewhat of a style shift since its prior inception. The album uses pop/rock with some electronic elements
added in. Think Hawk Nelson meets Newsboys…
Too bad that VOTA's a little late to jump onto this bandwagon, after acts like Capital Lights and Philmont, making
the sound less unique and distinguishing. Songs toward the middle of the album seem uninventive and like they're simply
"beating a dead horse." The sound grows monotonous from about the midpoint, and doesn't really change any until just about the end.
Also, the lyricism is not very original, and is another weak point of the album.
That's not to say VOTA is without its highlights. The album opener, "Hard To Believe," is a particularly catchy
song with a positive message. The all too radio ready "Love's Taken Over" adds some rockier sounds and riffs into the mix.
The dance floor ready, Maroon 5-esque "Bye Bye" uses violins, as common in dance music, to make the song more fun and catchy. The album's two
ballads, "In My Heart" and "Honestly," are also both very well done. Both are presented with a more stripped down approach
musically, free of all the programmed bells and whistles.
While VOTA's album may not be very original in sound or style, and seems a bit overproduced in places, it is a fun record
and is still somewhat an enjoyable listen.
- Review date: 2/7/09, written by Matthew Watson of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Under the new name VOTA, Casting Pearls returns with a long awaited follow-up to their
2005 Inpop debut. Bryan Olesen's versatile and vibrant vocals are still impressive to listen to, while the band
captures a lot of the energy that has always kept Newsboys fans loyal. But still, there's a fair amount of
over-polishing to the record that detracts a bit. While it's clear this is the sound VOTA wants to offer,
it's difficult not to wonder how much better it might fair with a more raw approach. Regardless, the infectious
feel that washes over VOTA carries a classic CCM pop/rock vibe and it's tracks like "Free To Fail,"
"Be Mine," "I'll Go," and "Honestly." For fans of Newsboys, Sanctus Real, and The Afters.
- John DiBiase