Reviewed by Matthew Cordle
With the new name comes a different sound - less rock and more pop/rock with some more radio-friendly tweaks. When I twigged that Bryan Olesen used to play guitar for the Newsboys everything dropped into place - this record has many overtones of the Newsboys, although more in a retro than an evolutionary fashion. One of the highlights, "Hard To Believe," kicks the album off in a very catchy fashion and sets the scene for much of the style, and it is very positive and listenable. There is not a huge variation from this style though and around halfway through one starts to feel as if a change needs to come, but it doesn't come until towards the end. The other main highlights for me were "Honestly", one of the album's two ballads, which strongly reminds me of some of White Heart's ballads, particularly the backing harmonies, and "Bye Bye", a slightly humorous account of the hardness of the human heart with a catchy strings arrangement. "Love's Taken Over" made me smile as it strongly reminded me of Cliff Richard's 'Stronger' album, particularly in terms of the guitars, and I suspect this wasn't the intention! Lyrically there is a definite case of crossover syndrome, with more generic references to love than overtly Christian themes, although there are some exceptions. All in all though, an enjoyable collection of radio friendly songs.
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|VOTA, formerly known as Casting Pearls, have reinvented themselves with a new name, new pop/rock sound and new record label.
Bryan Olesen, Case Maranville and Scott Rutz wanted to distinguish themselves amongst the crowds and distinguish they did. VOTA signed to INO Records earlier this year and have been busy working with producer Nathan Dantzler for this, their self-titled album. They are excited for their fans, both new and old, to hear their newly recorded songs live and share in the the next stage of the journey.
This album aims squarely at the youth/college listener whilst holding up a mirror to the Gospel and reflecting back the hope and encouragement we have in Christ.