The Gospel Music Association's 2005 New Artist of the Year didn't fall completely susceptible to the sophomore slump on Rise. The follow-up to their smash debut Space in Between Us walks the same line between neo-grunge and adult alternative as Lifehouse, Jeremy Camp and Kutless. Though formulaic in its approach, the album shines with earnest lyrics and gimmick-free power riffs. Rather than following in the path of Switchfoot by leaving lyrical interpretations to the listener, Jason Roy and company rely on messages that are virtually impossible to misinterpret. This makes most songs easy to digest, but it also causes the album to suffer from a lack of momentum, particularly in the middle. Their flirtations with modern rock beg for more exploration. The album starts with the promising rock anthems "Searching for a Savior" and "Fearless," the latter of which draws easy comparisons to Default. After that point, the band settles into a holding pattern of sorts, albeit one that produces a succession of alternative radio hits like "Home" and "I Belong to You." The most curious addition is their interpretation of Blessid Union of Souls' "I Believe," which takes several listens to realize its place on a rock record. Rise leaves you with the premonition that Building 429 is only a couple of fist-pumping hits away from greatness. After all, Lifehouse had the mega-hit ballad "You and Me," but what put them on the map was the toe-tapping pace of "Hanging by a Moment."
AllMusic Review by Jared Johnson
feat: Michael Tait