Building 429 Shakes Up Their Sound
Posted May 01, 2013
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Building 429 has long been a sort of second-tier staple of CCM for about a decade now. They haven't been the arena headliners or consistent chart toppers that some other acts have been, but they've also been a consistent presence on compilations and radio station playlists, with big hits such as "Glory Defined" and "You Carried Me" getting significant airplay.
The band seemed to take a step up with the release of their 2011 hit, Listen to the Sound. While the title track did well enough on its own, it seemed that follow-up AC single "Where I Belong" was the true star of the show. Not only did it go No. 1 on several charts, but on the Billboard Christian Audience Chart, it stayed there for a record-smashing 15 weeks. Combined with a spot on the ever-growing WinterJam tour in 2012, this seemed to be the perfect chance to propel the band to new heights.
This leads us to the release of the much-anticipated We Won't Be Shaken. At first look at the album cover and the lead single/title track, it seems like it could be a natural sequel to Sound. The logo established on the last album cover returns, and seems poised to be for Building 429 what the flame symbol is to Thousand Foot Krutch.
As for the title track, "We Won't Be Shaken," it's peppy and fits well within 429's sound, making for another worthy single. Its message of not being shaken from our faith and resolve in Christ is a fitting one within the identity the band has established for themselves. But don't let that fool you into thinking that this album is just going to be only more of the same from the band.
Intro track "Get Up" is a foot-tapping mover of a track that doesn't really sound much like Building 429 at all. It reminds me of some other bands in CCM (maybe the Newboys? Manic Drive?). I can't put my finger on it. It's familiar, but it's definitely not what I expected from Building 429--but it's good. And they keep just enough of themselves in the song to make it recognizably them. It's a rousing number with a message of getting up and living our faith and not just being pew-warmers. It's definitely an interesting new direction for the band sound-wise, and they keep it up for several tracks of the album.
"Bonfire" is next. It opens with an electro beat and is quite the danceable number with rousing vocals and an absolutely infectious beat. There's still some good rock in this too. It's quite the dynamic sound, and should be fun in concerts.
"Press On" starts quietly with just a subdued drum beat and guitar backing the vocals. The song stays pretty reserved compared with the opening tracks. It keeps enough of the new sound to keep the slow going but it also feels a little more like the Building 429 we've come to know and love. Guest vocals from the increasingly prolific Blanca Reyes of Group 1 Crew help add another layer to the song's musical appeal.
"Set A Fire" is poised to follow "Where I Belong" as the band's next big worshipful hit. It would sound great on radio and is a great slower moment on the record. "Revolution" brings back the addictive new sound established in the opening tracks for another great danceable rock number.
"All I'm Holding" has a beautiful piano-driven opening that propels the song into a classic Building ballad that stands next to the best the band has offered to date. "Best and Worst" carries a similar feel and is another great entry. "All The Glory" closes the album out appropriately with a great and upbeat worship entry.
Lyrically, the band stays in the unashamed-of-the-Gospel territory in which they've always been. They have exciting messages of Christians standing up for what they believe in songs like "Bonfire": "If I was born to be a flame, then I wanna light a bonfire /…gonna burn something down if you get in my way."
There are honest moments of worship and pleas for God to work in us in songs like "Set a Fire": "Set in a fire in me / bring me to my knees / like a rushing wind / consume this heart again … Turn a spark inside of me into a holy flame." Lyrics also talk about the fact that this life isn't about us but about giving God "All The Glory": "You lift me up just to live you high / it never was about me / you get all the glory / and if I stand it's only that I am in your hands." The songs are all solid and relevant to Christians today and help round out these finely crafted songs with some deeper meaning than you'd get from secular acts.
Building 429 has kept everything that you loved about them: the Christ-centered lyrics, the upbeat light rock, the rousing chants to get crowds hopping, and the thoughtful introspective side that shows that these guys possess a deep love for their faith and a heart for Christ they long to share in their music. On top of all of this, they've gone and explored some new sounds to effective results. Overall, this is a fine album full of potential hits and is sure to raise the bar for them next time around.
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