Release Date: November 20th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Hope Is Here (Do Not Fear) [feat. Terrian]
- Infinite Glory
- Mary Sweet Mary
On the heels of releasing (in my opinion) their most inspiring, and strongest album of their whole career (musically, lyrically and thematically) in Live The Journey in September 2018… CCM/pop/rock band Building 429 have been quite busy. The hit single “Different”, and the EP releases Fear No More, and Remember: A Worship Collection have all graced our ears at one point or another throughout the past two years; so what’s next for Christian pop/rock band Building 429? Jason Roy, Jesse Garcia, Aaron Branch, and Michael Anderson have won a place in my heart with their latest album (read my glowing 5/5 review here!), so you’d think that the next release they’d unveil I’d sit up and take notice, right? Well, you’d be right. The group dropped a Christmas EP titled A Thrill Of Hope at the end of 2019, containing two original Christmas tunes as well as two re-worked carols- all of these songs fitting right at home amongst original Christmas songs over the years such as “Christmas Makes Me Cry” (Matthew West), “This Christmas (Father Of The Fatherless)” (TobyMac), “Baby Boy” (for KING & COUNTRY), “You’re Here” (Francesca Battistelli), “Believe” (Josh Groban) and “December Song” (Peter Hollens). While I myself prefer full Christmas albums, and am still apprehensive whenever Christmas EP’s release (in the sense that there’s not enough time on the record to fully convey the enormity of Jesus’ birth!), Building 429 have shown me that in some instances, the EP can be useful, and especially in this case whereby the full impact of Jesus is highlighted here even though we’re unfamiliar with these tracks. The result last year was a poignant and brilliantly recorded Christmas EP… and now this year the group are at it again, with Hope Is Here dropping to stores last month. A digital single of 3 original tracks; how does the band’s second effort in holiday tunes compare to their first Christmas EP, and also to their contemporaries this year- artists like Delta Goodrem, Meghan Trainor, for KING & COUNTRY, Tommee Profitt, Pentatonix and Phil Wickham?
Well it’s pretty great in my opinion. Immediately my eyes scan over to the title track “Hope Is Here (Do Not Fear)”, a stirring duet with Terrian, and with one listen… boy am I touched and impacted beyond what I ever thought. is this song Holy Spirit anointed and God breathed? Quite possibly- as Jason and Terrian emphatically sing in harmony, and relay that this year is the year we’ve needed to know more than ever about the hope we have in Jesus because of His birth in a manger all those years ago. With Jason crying out ‘…there’s never been a year when I’ve so needed, to see the season come around, to sing the sweet familiar carols, see the lights all over town, cause I need to be reminded in the darkness of these days, our God is not so far away…’, we are reminded that even in the darkness, Jesus is with us, and even in the darkness, He is still moving. “Infinite Glory”, a worship song at its core, is a piano led ballad, whereby Jason fervently sings out portions of “Angels We Have Heard On High”, and basically declares Jesus’ sovereignty, crying out that ‘…over and over and over again, I find Your greatness is far greater than my eyes can see or my voice can speak, You are the God of infinite glory, You formed the oceans with a wave of your hand, and outshine the stars, You’re still far greater than my eyes can see or my voice can speak, You are the God of infinite glory..’. The EP ender (I know, so shocking that this near-perfect EP is ending so soon!) is the hymn-like piano led “Mary Sweet Mary”, similar in theme to “Mary Did You Know”, as Jason relays to us, and directs the song to Mary, about Jesus, and the truth of His saving of mankind that was prophesised throughout the ages.
Now that Building 429 are not on a label anymore, has anything really changed? Hope Is Here, like its predecessor A Thrill Of Hope is just as impacting as ever, and as a Christmas project, is one of my favourites of the year (yes even though it’s only 3 tracks!). If you’re not a fan of Building 429, then you should be, and this EP is the perfect platform to by introduced to an artist for the ages (and then of course you can work backwards through their discography!). It’s not known what is next for the quartet (a hymns album or a covers album would be pretty cool!), but until such a date where they release something new, let us be amazed at the words of “Hope Is Here” and the rest of their Christmas songs, as we declare ‘…hope is here, Love chose to leave His throne, hope is here, He made our world his home, there’s an echo from the angels saying ‘Do not fear’, hope is here…’. Oh, and listen to Live The Journey too!
RIYL: Kutless, Nickelback, Daughtry, Switchfoot, Newsboys, U2