Jeff Deyo started out as the lead vocalist for the trend-setting modern worship group Sonicflood. After departing the group in 2001, Deyo released his first solo project, Saturate the following year. Although Deyo's joyful vocals aren't too much different than most worship leaders, his music is a lot stronger on his second solo effort, Light. The second outting feels a little more like Sonicflood's debut, however Deyo's vocal style hasn't matured much. Like on the Sonicflood record, Deyo includes more spoken moments that just don't really seem to fit on a release like this. Deyo's childlike approach to worship makes for a really upbeat and elated recording, but it almost feels like we're listening to a personal encounter with God that Deyo had and the listener is disconnected from the worship experience themselves. Deyo saturates his music with the joy he's found in Christ which is infectious for some, and difficult to associate with for others. In fact, it's his sheer elation that drives his recordings. But unfortunately, there really doesn't appear to be much artistic growth for Deyo on Light. He opts for the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" method that will be a plus for his fans, but not much of a draw for anyone who didn't warm up to his style in the past.
Light brings a few surprise guests to the table with appearances by Rita Springer, Natalie Grant, and Third Day's Mac Powell. While the Springer and Grant duets work for the most part, it seems a little odd to hear Powell, a much more skilled vocalist, singing with Deyo as he tends to overpower him. Deyo shines brightest on Light when he stretches his vocal abilities from his usual methods. This is especially evident in the opening moments of "I Fear You."
Lyrically, Light is just that. The worshipful lyrics are honest and open, but they never really dive much deeper than the surface. On the other hand, "I Love You (No One)" is a melodic and meditative song that stands out from many of the preceding tracks. But there really isn't much on Light that's meaty enough to chew on for very long. Much of it has a fluffy feel that goes down easy but is likely to leave some listeners unsatisfied.
All in all, Light is a decent sophomore effort for Jeff Deyo and an improvement upon his debut, but still leaves plenty of room for artistic growth. With the abundant selections of worship projects to choose from these days, Light threatens to get lost in the mix. Bearing an all-around positive and joyous message, Light almost completely forsakes more delicate emotions that accompany worship such as brokenness and sorrow. With that said, Jeff Deyo's Light is still worth a look from avid worship fans, but for those looking for more substance in their worship time with Jesus, Light may not hold enough weight.- Review date: 2/8/04, written by John DiBiase
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