Release Date: June 16th 2017
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Safe in My Father’s Arms
Sanctus Real has always been a band to wear its heart on its sleeve. With songs like ‘Lead Me’ discussing about the theme of standing up and leading the family as fathers, husbands and men in general (with the help of the Lord, of course), ‘Lay it Down’ encouraging us to lay down our troubles and worries at the foot of the cross, and ‘We Need Each Other’ showcasing the very need for us to be around people, that our company and camaraderie is what is going to allow us to get through this life not alone; we are reminded that such a band exists where they are not afraid to discuss and sing about themes that would otherwise be swept under the carpet. Enter in another release from Sanctus Real, a year or so after a personnel change. With Matt Hammitt exiting the band in 2015 to pursue other interests (inclusive of a solo career), worship leader Dustin Lolli was picked to become the new lead singer of the band from Toledo, Ohio. And while with any lead singer change, we can all become hesitant at first, what transpired was something unique and different- This is Love EP dropped early in 2016, featuring more of a rock sound that was present on their earlier albums The Face of Love and Fight the Tide. Their ‘comeback’ single ‘This is Love’ was very guitar driven, and was actually one of my favourite songs on the EP (and of that current year as well). Now to their new song ‘Safe in My Father’s Arms’- the first radio single from their upcoming album releasing later on during the year.
Hearing the song a few days ago for the first time, I had to do a double take. Was I listening to Sanctus Real, or another Caribbean style band a la Christafari or New Hope Oahu? Because this was not the Sanctus Real I’ve heard before (rock or CCM or otherwise)…and maybe that’s a good thing. Sure, with band who start off in a certain genre, it’s ok for them to venture into different styles. But if it is just fit under the umbrella or ‘safe’ (as with the new song from Jeremy Camp ‘Word of Life’, that I reviewed here!), then there is a problem. Not the case with the new single from Sanctus Real. ‘Safe in My Father’s Arms’ takes a few listens to get into it and really enjoy the music style that hasn’t really been explored by the band in, well, ever; but once I listened to the song again and again, I came to appreciate the new direction the band was moving towards. And the message is as timely and needed as ever- as Dustin discusses in a new facebook video, ‘Safe in My Father’s Arms’ encourages us to realise and remember that in any circumstance, we are still loved by the King and that it is in His arms where we find peace, comfort, and encouragement from anything life throws at us. While at times we may ask the question ‘why’ when it comes to the Lord fixing issues in our own lives that He doesn’t, we can still find hope that regardless of the reasons why He does or doesn’t do something, we can still praise Him because of what He has already done for us all those years ago. Because of that reason alone, He is still worthy of praise and still worthy to place our full trust in- and ‘Safe in My Father’s Arms’ conveys such a truth with eloquence, passion and zeal.
What do the next 10 years hold for Sanctus Real? Hopefully with Dustin at the helm. Yet even if they do go the route of Newsboys or Audio Adrenaline (with multiple band member changes), the band and its ministry in delivering songs that encourage the soul and impact the lives of many will never change- ‘Safe in My Father’s Arms’ is a moment when we realise that it doesn’t matter who the lead singer of the band is, the heart of it needs to be the same for the ministry to continue. Even without Matt Hammitt as the frontman, the band has always had a heart for Jesus and the gospel, and that will never change moving forward. Sure, it will be weird to hear a full-length album without Matt at the helm, but the heart of the band will still be constant. This new song from Dustin Lolli and co. is I’m sure one of many that will become popular with fans new and old alike as the months roll on, as we continue to venture alongside the band in the message of feeling safe and secure in the presence of our Lord and King! Well done Dustin and the band for such a unique song, here’s to the new album coming later on during 2017!
3 songs to listen to: ‘Safe in My Father’s Arms’ 3 times, to realise that this unique style isn’t anything the band has done before!
RIYL: Matt Hammitt, Christafari, Salvador, I AM THEY, Jimmy Needham