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SATURATE (2002)
Saturate - Click to view! Those who bought Sonicflood's latest, Resonate, expecting something in the vein of that group's self-titled debut were left with a sour taste in their mouth. The group has, as you well know, been dismantled and lives on in name only (only Rick Heil, who played bass on the group's Grammy-nominated live album, remains). The loss of lead singer and principal songwriter Jeff Deyo, though, was most paralysing. Without his influence, SF is essentially a 3rd rate band without direction that does the modern rock thing about as well as a pebble does the backstroke.

Fans of the glory days, however, will revel in Deyo's first solo effort, Saturate. The sound found here is strikingly similar (by Deyo's own admission) to the Sonicflood of old. This disc is quite possibly the best worship album of the year.

The disc begins with a rocked up version of "More Love, More Power" (one of only three cover songs on the album; Deyo penned the rest). Deyo brings the tempo up quite a bit, and adds a definite modern rock feel to this classic of 1987. The result is quite pleasant. Purists will turn up their noses at the progressive approach, but to my ears, this interpretation is better than the original.

Next is "Let it Flow," the album's first single. This song has been a relatively big hit on Christian radio, and for good reason. Utilizing guitar chord progression and rhythms reminiscent of the mainstream group Train, Deyo expresses his desire to see God sweep over the nation: "I wanna see your spirit moving through the streets," he sings. "Touching everyone, to bring us to our knees/So won't you pour out from the rivers of my soul/And let it flow..."

"Lose Myself" follows, another Deyo original from which the album's title is drawn. Deyo cries out for God to permeate every part of his being, singing "Saturate my life/Fill every part of me in You...let me lose myself in You." Though not as strong as the first two tracks, this tune fits neatly into the flow of the album and is still worthy of a listen.

Deyo's cover of "I Give You My Heart" is next in line, and the delivery is acceptable. Somewhat in line with Sonicflood's re-working of "Did You Hear the Mountains Tremble," this is an interesting interpretation, but doesn't add much to the song. And the extraneous "do-do"s at the end of the track are a bit corny.

Deyo slows things down a bit with "All I Want," track six. A simple love song to Christ, this song articulates Deyo's sole desire: to have Jesus. "All I want is just to see You," he sings. "And I long/Just to hear Your voice."

"Satisfy," the ensuing track, is a bit of a surprise. Given the singer's prayers and lay preaching (which is interspersed through the album in the form of interludes), it seems unlikely that he would write things like "I've let the darkness in...I've not been true to you." But this is what we are presented with. The song at first seems dispensable, but takes on a new life once it hits the chorus. This is true of the next track, "Let Me Burn," as well.

"Many Crowns" explores the symbolism of the crown of thorns worn by Christ before His death: "A crown so cruel/You wore it like a king/A king of fools." This is probably the weakest song on the album, with limited instrumentation during the verses (it becomes obvious that Deyo's band is at its best when the house be rockin'), but in truth it isn't that bad.

The next two songs, "Thank You For Life" and "You Are Good" sound very similar and are a bit generic, but have very passionate and poignant lyrics. "I'd Rather Have Jesus" is weird at best-with Benedictine monk-like choir smattered throughout-and probably should have been left alone. But the album ends on a strong note, with an understated guest performance by Rebecca St. James. Charismatically themed, the two sing about their desire to "shout aloud" God's name and "dance in heaven's light."

Regardless of your opinion of Jeff Deyo and his past, this is a must-have. Though not timeless, this album presents the best progressive worship heard in some time, and captures the essence of the modern praise movement beautifully. The quibbles stated above are minor. Pick this one up today.
- Ben Forrest
May 31, 2002
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