Finding true middle ground

Saturate (Gotee Records)

Jeff Deyo

By Kory Wilcoxson

As a general rule, popular Contemporary Christian music tends to fall into two camps: soft-rock praise and worship music and more catchy pop-rock songs with a positive Christian message. Sonicflood made their mark on the Christian music scene a few years ago by successfully wedding these two sounds, creating worship music that rocked full-blast.

Jeff Deyo, the former lead singer of Sonicflood, is now flying solo, and he shows on his debut album Saturate that he's ready to take his rockin' praise style to a new level. Sonicflood's modus operandi was to rework classic praise songs; in contrast, Deyo wrote most of the songs on the disc (one notable exception is a great updating of "I'd Rather Have Jesus").

Deyo not only writes catchy, full-volume tunes, but his lyrics are, well, saturated with sincere statements of faith. Deyo moves beyond pie-in-the-sky praise, opening himself up to the raw power and vulnerability that comes with authentic belief.

Deyo shows more range on this disc, incorporating a few ballads and expanding the instrumentation to include pianos and strings. But Deyo is at his best when he's cutting loose, like on "Many Crowns"; that's where his love for God and love for music find the truest harmony.