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In Between Us Expanded Edition
Artist: Building 429
Label: Word Records
Time: 17 Tracks/67:52 minutes
It’s in their more subtle moments that Building 429 shines. Songs like "The Space in Between Us" and "No One Else Knows" are well-crafted, hook-laden pop/rock songs. The latter is a beautiful ballad, which is currently making its way up Christian radio. In the "Spirit Lives On" the band starts with a promising musical intro that unfortunately gets lost in the background.
Without wanting to take away anything from their breakout hit "Glory Defined," it’s songs like it that employ crunchy guitars that sound a little generic. Though the band sounds similar to a number of pop/rock Christian artists, those that enjoy Christian radio will find a number of songs that they can appreciate.
This extended edition has alternate versions of "Glory Defined," "No One Else Knows," a couple of previously out of print songs, and a rocking version of Chris Tomlin’s "Famous One." The CD also includes the video for "Glory Defined." The additional songs don’t add that much. Those who have the twelve song CD are better off waiting for the next release. This might be worthwhile for those who only have the original EP version.
It will be interesting to see if they can further define themselves on their next release. With a strong male vocalist, a good sound, some thoughtful lyrics, and now a string of radio hits they have the opportunity to build on their success. This is a good start for a building in progress.
This review will only cover the new material on the Expanded Edition.
Specifically, there is an acoustic alternative version of the ubiquitous “Glory Defined,” a remix of “No One Else Knows,” an unplugged version of “All You Ask of Me” from previous a now out of print release from Building 429 as is “Free." Lastly, there is a Building 429 version of Chris Tomlin's “Famous One.” Two other bonuses on this enhanced CD are an unlock feature for the band's website which allows viewing of a video and lead sheets/guitar chord charts for “Glory Defined”.
Let's start off with the big comparison: "Glory Defined" looking at the difference between the version you know from the radio, and the acoustic alternative version on this disc. The radio version featured the all-too-familiar drop-D chunka-chunka guitar that you can hear on just about everything these days. Here's a prediction that the next Steven Curtis Chapman disc will even feature a drop-D crunch-fest, to keep up with the times. Well, this expanded edition CD's alternative version of this song actually seems to match lead singer Jason Roy's vocals better. The hard guitars are replaced by acoustic piano and an orchestral string section in this version. The hook 'chunka' that appears in the radio version of this song right before the chorus is completely missing in the acoustic version. The instrumentation in this version, in it's lighter guise, allows Jason's voice to shine more than in the original version where his vocals are competing with the same spectral territory as the detuned 6-strings on adrenaline. This version of the song would likely have been an even bigger radio hit as it would have hit the airwaves on likely all Christian radio stations. The local station here, WMUZ, has an aversion to playing anything with loud guitars, and they would quickly spin this version.
The second song that draws comparisons is the remix of “No One Else Knows.” This version shares the same simple acoustic piano comping chords for an intro, joined by a small cello section joining in during the chorus, and additional strings joining in as the song progresses. The differences come about as the second verse goes forward. While the original preserves the piano/strings accompaniment, this re-mix adds in bass, electric guitar and drums right at the second verse. The original waits until the bridge section at about 2:40 to add in that instrumentation. This radio remix adds in more distorted guitars that sound like they came from Boston's “More than a Feeling” - quite out of place in a song with this lite-rock ballad.
“Famous One” features more heavy guitars on the intro. This is a new treatment of Chris Tomlin's well known worship anthem. It sounds kind of faked; unauthentic rock. The mix is not great particularly during the chorus as Jason's vocals get covered by some guitars that sound like they were punched in by a studio hired hand dialing up a crunch preset on his Line6 Pod amplifier simulator.
The other two tracks that
are on this disc couldn't be more different but may be the best mixes
on the whole disc. The unplugged version of “All You Ask of
Me,” has a clear and simple mix of only acoustic guitar, B3, bass guitar
and drums. There's a nice acoustic lead guitar part between 2 chorus
sections. This kind of instrumentation again sounds better with Jason's
vocals, than the heavy guitars that while made them famous in “Glory Defined,”
sound unauthentic on other parts of the disc. Contrast that with
“Free,” where the chunka guitars come back but they sound more real
on this track than the others. The only fault with this track is
that it's low end; bass and
Unless you are a devotee of the Building, there is really no compelling reason to buy this disc. Let's hope that the acoustic rock sound of the remix of “Glory Defined” and “All You Ask of Me” find a more prevalent place on the next disc.
Scott Lake 10/8/2005