Ever since the release of their masterpiece The End Is Not The End, House of Heroes has been gaining an enormous reputation as one of the best things in Christian music, a moniker that in my opinion should have been in place since their inception, but I digress. The B-Sides EP is a collection of rarities and other EPs previously released, showcasing some of the best work the Heroes have done.
The EP starts off with the rocker "The Young and the Brutal," the closing track of the digital version of The End Is Not The End, proving itself to also be an effective opening track. The tempo then abruptly slows to bring in the acoustic offerings.
The cuts from the short but sweet Acoustic End EP are first, leading with the upbeat "New Moon," followed by the heart-wrenching "Ghost," and capped off by an acoustic rendition of the opening track (discounting the string intro) of The End Is Not The End, "If". All of these tracks are outstanding, in particular "Ghost," and even though "If" lacks some of the punch the original possesed, it makes up for it by showcasing the outstanding group vocals HoH is known for.
Next up is a previously unreleased acoustic version of "Serial Sleepers" from their self-titled album. It took a couple of listens for me to appreciate the stripped-down take, but in the end the result is similar with the previous track - less punch, more highlight on vocals. A live acoustic performance of "Baby's A Red," a personal HoH favorite of mine, from Relevant Studios follows, and is unfortunately, to this listener, a bit of a disappointment. The vocals seemed a bit shaky, and turning this upbeat rocker into an acoustic stool-sitter didn't seem to work.
The EP jumps back into the rock with the insanely catchy Meets the Beatles EP. The only beef I had with the original EP was the short length and the choice of "It Won't Be Long." Perhaps something a bit more in the vein of "Back in the U.S.S.R." or "Twist & Shout" would've highlighted Skipper's voice better, or "Hey Jude" for the gang vocals. Regardless, it lifts the EP out of its acoutic vibe back into the full band feel just in time for House of Heroes' contribution to Gotee Records' tribute to the legendary dc Talk, Freaked! Their take on "Day By Day" left something to be desired, but did the original justice and serves as a fitting closer for this EP.
Overall, the EP is a success for people trying to acquire all of the Heroes' miscellaneous releases without having to download multiple items. However, if you're looking for a cohesive project, this is not it. It is merely a collection for fans looking to gather EPs and rarities that can only be bought digitally outside of this physical release.
Review date: 10/6/11, written by Roger Willey for Jesusfreakhideout.com