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FAITH AND DEVOTIONS OF A SATELLITE HEART (2001)
Faith and Devotions of a Satellite Heart - Click to view!I'm one of those people who would be perfectly happy if church decided to skip fast praise choruses for the sake of spending more time in deep worship. Slower tempos and drawn-out choruses cause me to almost immediately reflect on God. In stating this, I don't imply that fast songs are less spiritual and therefore less enjoyable (I like the David Crowder Band's work). But when I need to settle my attention on Christ, I consistently return to such classics as Faith and Devotions of a Satellite Heart. This album is simplistic yet eclectic at the same time. The words feel genuine, and the music gives glory to God through creative experimentation.

The disk begins with "Invitacion Fountain," an invitation for both God and humanity to connect. We are invited to come to the Fountain of living waters, and a female vocalist beckons, "If You lead me, Lord, I will follow / Where You lead me, Lord, I will go." After this comes "Clean," a song of praise set to a tune of surrender: "My God has rescued me / Taken my rags and made me clean / Opened my eyes so I could see / My God has rescued me / All I have I give to You / I lay it at Your feet." These are the lyrics in their entirety. "Clean" blends into "The Blood of Jesus," a soft lullaby celebrating the power of His blood. Pritzl asks God, "Pour the Blood of Jesus over me." Then comes the passionate cry found in "Forty Wait," which reads, "Lord my cup is empty / Won't You come now and fill me up?" This question is repeated multiple times as the music slowly crescendos. Building on simplistic arrangements, The Violet Burning is able to convey weighty messages with just a few lyrics.

Of course, this band doesn't refrain from embracing a rock sound. "Nobody Else" becomes the core of the album, using both the mantra style of "Forty Weight" and the faster tempo found in "All Right." The introduction includes a slide guitar and Pritzl singing high falsetto through massive reverb. The chorus reads plainly yet effectively: "There is nobody else who is like You." As the song progresses, the distortion kicks in, the drums become more prevalent, and Pritzl begins to "worship the Lord with feedback" (according to the liner notes). An instrumental interlude prepares Pritzl to begin crying praise where he was once whispering. After this moment of climax comes "Beautiful." It includes the most rock flavor, mirroring the traditional praise tune more than any of the tracks.

But "rock" might not even be the correct term. Faith and Devotions of a Satellite Heart feels almost like psychedelic pop. If this wasn't a worship record created by Christians, I would wonder if mind-altering substances were used to create the musical feel. It is vibey in the truest sense of the word. The simple guitar notes and airy vocals of "Maker of the Stars" often reminds me of hippies from the Jesus movement sitting on a flower-patched couch, bobbing their heads to the beat. But allow me add a parenthetical to keep away negative stereotypes. I respect this worship recording more so than many others because I respect The Violet Burning. I can sense the purity of their efforts in this record. Faith and Devotions of a Satellite Heart makes such an impact because it's the genuine reflection of hearts that have realized that this world is not their home.
- Hollie Stewart
March 2005
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