From Downhere - "To help tide you over until the new album comes out, we're excited to release at festivals this summer a 2-disc project called "Two At A Time: Sneak Peeks and B Sides". This is an album of - you guessed it! - sneak peeks of the new album as well as some never-before released songs (if you were a participant in one of our past listening parties you may recognize some of these tunes). This will only be available online and at our merch table, so make sure you come by to pick it up and say hi!"
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Even With B-Sides, Downhere Stands Way Ahead of the Pack| Posted June 20, 2010
As a big down of pop/rock quartet Downhere, I've wanted an album like this for a long time. Over the past 5 or so years, the band has developed quite a bit of songs not available on regular album releases. This includes B-sides and compilation contributions. The latter have been purchasable as individual tracks, but many of the others have been limited to annoying "iTunes exclusive release" or something like that. Others have never been released in any form(although the ones from the Ending is Beginning sessions were streamed as part of the listening party to help choose songs for the new album, hence those great songs were teased to fans and since not released).
Well, after lots of eager waiting and promises form the band to find a way to release these songs, Downhere comes forth with Two At A Time: Sneak Peeks and B Sides. The album contains all 9 of the tracks from the aforementioned categories, plus two new songs recorded for their next album, the "sneak peaks" of the title.
I'm going to get an initial gripe out of the way right now, and it's one that won't apply to most since this is primarily a digital release, with physical copies only available from their merch tables at concerts. Now to the complaint: The new songs and B-sides are separated into 2 CDs, leaving the CDs at 2 and 9 tracks respectively. While this is a minor issue and I understand their reasoning with it to a point, it still makes for awkward listening having to change CDs after only 2 songs. But for most of buyers, they'll be getting a digital release, which, while it still has the same arrangement, can easily just have the tracks play straight through.
Now, onto the most important part; the music. The new stuff sounds good, really good. "You're Not Alone" is another Downhere gem in the tradition of Top 5 hit "Here I Am." "The Song You Sing" is an upbeat and catchy rock track that can easily get stuck in your head. Both of these songs are worthy additions to any CCM collection.
The B-sides are all awesome songs as well, easily matching the quality of the best in the CCM industry today. The B-sides kick off with the upbeat quasi-title track "One Small Step." Next up is the emotional "Everything To Lose" which speaks of how awesome it is that God gave himself up for us even if we rarely show him proper gratitude.
"Break My Heart" follows next and I noticed it is slightly different from the listening party version, with added strings.
The band continues with other great tracks including the standout "Everything Will," the Wes King cover "Excavate," and the classic Downhere brilliantly hokey-style track, "Household Name" that speaks to whether or not we'd still have time for God if we became famous.
A remake of one of the songs from their indie album, "Grown Man," and the slower "Stand With Me" follow next. These songs slow the album down a bit. They are great tracks still.
Closing out the album is the song that nobody except those closest to the band ever heard, "Back to the Chorus," a catchy rock number that closes out the album in strong fashion.
Ultimately, there is a lot to love about this album. It obviously isn't quite as strong as a regular full-length release, but at the same time, all of the songs sound so darn good that one wonders why they didn't just package the new songs and B-sides into a 5th full length release. Certainly this songs could match quality with the rest of the radio. But I guess the band is already moving on to more great tunes, which makes this treat even more special.
Don't let the title fool you, these "B-sides" pack as much punch as anything you'll find on the radio and are well worth listening to for fans of the genre. At 11 tracks total, it's not too hard to be convinced to make the purchase. You won't regret it. This release is definitely a strong addition to Downhere's discography and easily tides us over until their next release, slated for release at the tail end of the year. It may not be billed as a full-length release, but it might as well be; it's that good. But of course it is; it's Downhere.