Building 429 earned significant attention in the Christian music market when their debut EP Glory Defined spawned a single that would not only get substantial airplay, but would help them garner the title as GMA's New Artist Of The Year. Now, in all fairness, it still should surprise many that this pop/rock band could come away with such an accolade given their competition of much more unique and original new artists in 2004, almost soley because of a hit single. And, for whatever the reason, one must ask the question when proposed with the concept of a re-released album like Space In Between Us: Expanded Edition - is this really necessary?
When five new tracks are tacked onto an already successful album, wouldn't an EP of sorts have been more appropriate? Space In Between Us: Expanded Edition takes the pop/rock/contemporary debut from Building 429, tacks on a few unplugged, remixed, and new tracks, and puts the album back on the shelf. While this technique from the labels of trying to garner more sales for a particular album is sadly becoming more popular, it's really only a fair treat for those who haven't bought the record already. As a whole, Building 429's debut, as it was released last year, is a slightly above-average release. Taking often string-laced pop melodies with tinges of polished rock elements, B429 possesses a southern rock flavor that is possibly comparable to Third Day, but without the lyrical and musical expertise the seasoned Atlanta band offers. Granted, B429 is a much younger group of musicians, so there's plenty of room for growth. Space In Between Us is a decent batch of songs, if not a little too similar from track to track, but arguably nothing especially new or different.
Space In Between Us: Expanded Edition adds some new material to the already lengthy thirteen-track release. "All You Ask Of Me (Unplugged)" is the first of the bonus tracks, a nicely stripped-down acoustic song. The more raw approach to the sound seems to work much better for the band's style of songwriting and showcases Jason Roy's vocal talents best. "Free," on the other hand, is a more rock-oriented effort that is robbed of its potentially more aggressive nature by over-production. The alternate version of "Glory Defined" wipes any edge the original had from it, which seems to work better for the song's melody. Roy's vocals clearly work best with more mellow fare and "Glory Defined" sounds more appropriately contemporary here. The original has always seemed undecided whether it wants to be pop/rock or AC, and this version is more, ironically, defined. The radio remix of "No One Else Knows" is a beautiful piano ballad that is really only slightly different from the original, but is easily one of the best tracks on this release. The Expanded Edition closes with the band's passionate rendition of Chris Tomlin's original worship song "Famous One."
Building 429 shows promise with their debut Space In Between Us, but like most new artists, also leaves plenty of room for growth. The biggest strike Space In Between Us has going against it is its over-production from start to finish. Because the band puts a rock edge on their pop/contemporary sound, its watered down by the production, giving some songs a more generic feel than they deserve. It's when the band's songs are more raw that their artistry is given a chance to shine. The Space In Between Us: Expanded Edition is by all means an unnecessary release (as are most - if not all of the recent and forthcoming expanded rereleases), but is definitely the must-have addition for anyone who has yet to pick up the album upon falling in love with their hit single. Fans who already own the record may want to be a little hestitant in buying the record all over again for a mere five additional tracks.- Review date: 8/28/05, written by John DiBiase
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