When Sonicflood released their first record in 1999, they made waves in Christian music, stirring up the modern worship scene. Blending joyful pop rock with well-known worship tunes, Sonicflood was an instant success. In 2000 the band opened up for the Newsboys LoveLibertyDisco air dome tour. Later that year, lead singer Jeff Deyo left the group to pursue a solo career, and in 2001, Sonicflood went through major changes, with each original member leaving the band. Now it's 2002, and Deyo is releasing his first solo effort, entitled Saturate. Can we expect a Sonicflood 2? Pretty much...
Deyo's first solo endeavor has a strong Sonicflood feel to it, but it's clear this is his territory this time around. Although Jeff has a group of musicians backing him, it's evident he's the driving force behind the project. Like Sonicflood's debut record, Deyo includes moments of talking, and prayer mixed into the worship songs. The album opens with the appropriately titled "Opening Prayer," setting the tone for this modern worship record. Deyo has the approach to his recordings similar to that of a live worship conference leader. His vocals don't seem very confident or matured. They're rough around the edges and often emotional. This is more an acquired taste for certain listeners, as I personally have a hard time getting used to them. For me, Deyo's voice is fine in small doses, but becomes too much after 15 tracks and for nearly 70 minutes.
A lot of Jeff Deyo's songs are original, penned by himself or with help, while he also gives his own spin to favorites and classics like "More Love, More Power," "I Give You My Heart," and "I'd Rather Have Jesus." Outside vocal support is aided to Deyo by Nicol Smith on "All I Want," and Rebecca St. James on "Sing to You." St. James's accompaniment may seem to some as just a tease, making them wish there were more of her vocals present. Ironically, Rebecca released her amazing worship record a month (to the day) before Deyo's, raising the bar and expectations for modern worship.
Deyo makes his feelings of joy apparent in his songs. It's obvious this man has joy through His relationship with our Savior. One thing that hurts the record is that musically it's nothing all that new or exciting. For fans of Deyo or the original Sonicflood, they'll more than likely be really pleased with this set of songs. For those looking for something new and exciting, Saturate isn't for you.
Jeff Deyo's passion for God permeates the entire recording, best summing up Saturate in the closing lyric of "Let Me Burn." "...and I worship You / Straight to you I run / Singing songs of joy / of Your kingdom come..."- Review date: 3/14/02, written by John DiBiase
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