The notorious album re-release is something that seems to only make the most sense to the record labels doing the re-issuing. Whether the album under sold or it's merely an attempt to squeeze a little more life out of a record before moving on to a new release, the re-release can seem a little unfair to fans who devotedly purchased the original version prior to its second run (and would want to obtain whatever goodies are on said re-release). The immediate question is whether or not the new edition is worth a double-dip into your bank account, but graciously, Word Records seems to understand the ultimate dilemma a re-release poses, making good on the new Daylight Is Coming: Expanded Edition from Remedy Drive.
In 2008, music fans were introduced to Remedy Drive's debut album. Produced by All Star United personality Ian Eskelin, Daylight Is Coming turned this four-brother jam band into a more radio-friendly pop rock outfit. Eskelin helped polish some edges that needed a little rounding, while the element fans discovered at their live show didn't seem to be too well represented on the recording. It's now almost two years later, and instead of a brand new sophomore record, Word is re-issuing the record in an "Expanded Edition" form featuring three brand new recordings. At first, disappointment begins to wash over at the thought that fans might only be getting three new songs for the price of a full album, however, for those reluctant to make a purchase of the album again, the label is also releasing on the same day The Daylight EP, a digital servicing of just these three new songs, with the addition of an acoustic rendition of one of the new songs, and, most enticingly, a remix of the song "Daylight" by Family Force 5 frontman Solomon "Soul Glow Activatur" Olds. The EP is undoubtedly the best buy for fans, and as a whole, the five tracks are pure gold. It's just regrettable that the acoustic and remix did not make Daylight Is Coming: Expanded Edition.
In 2007, Family Force 5 re-released their debut as The Diamond Edition, also tacking on three brand spankin' new tracks. And much like with FF5's re-release, the songs on Daylight Is Coming: Expanded Edition are no b-sides (like some deluxe editions tend to include). The FF5 tracks were different than the rest of the record preceding them, showcasing an edgier if not more raw sound, and each one was a gem. The same is true for Remedy Drive. After listening to the new tracks many times separately and then as part of Daylight Is Coming, it's quite tempting to say that these three tracks rise above the rest of the 2008 recording. The new songs show an ever-so-slightly edgier, maybe just darker, feel and are a little bit more raw in production. The songs also feel fuller and are laced with the emotion that the band brings to their live show. As the last of the three new tracks draws to a close, there's a sense of a cliff-hanger here. What will the next Remedy Drive record sound like? Will it be this good? And if so, we want more!
And being left wanting more while still feeling a sense of satisfaction in the band's current direction-taking is a good place to have their listeners. "Guide You Home" leads the pack as a melodic embracing of those struggling to find their way in life. The band writes the song from the perspective of Christ offering His guidance. There's a melancholic feel to it that adds to the theme, but just like the rest of Daylight Is Coming, it's brimming with hope, and the climaxing chorus is encouraging. "Speak To Me" follows, the track that may best be suitable for radio of the three. It's an anthem for any believer anxious to actually hear from God. The theme is an appropriate successor to "Guide You Home," and it serves almost as a response to the preceding track. It starts out slower and builds to be ridiculously catchy. It's one of those songs that as it replays in your head, it becomes a heartfelt prayer, "Speak to me, oh Speak to me, I'm in between and I can't hear you. Whisper, shout it, give me something, I need it and I need Your voice, need a sound, Speak to me." "Rescue" brings a close to the three songs and Expanded Edition with a driving, almost epic intro. It's another encouraging track about clinging to God in the midst of an unraveling world and uncertain times. With most expanded releases, the new tracks are just tacked on at the end, and the same is done here. "Valuable" was previously the closer for Daylight Is Coming, and a good one, so the flow is a lot different as it moves from the original eleven tracks into the new three.
All in all, the Daylight Is Coming: Expanded Edition is the ultimate package for Remedy Drive's label debut for anyone who doesn't own it yet. The album is still a solid piano rock record and the new tracks just make it better. If you already own the 2008 release, however, your best bet would be to get the new songs, along with the bonus tracks, via the digital-only Daylight EP. Either way, I'm loving where Remedy Drive is headed and can't wait until their sophomore effort is released.- Review date: 3/28/10, written by John DiBiase of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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