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Pre EP
Artist: The Vast Expanse
Length: 5 tracks / 23:19

The Fallout Urban Arts Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Tuesday, December 7, 2004, and The Vast Expanse has poured their heart into the back room, softening the bare brick walls and warming the chilled pre-Christmas night. The final delay loop of the band's impressive half-hour set of ambient modern rock was still cycling through the while the godfather of alterna-Christian glam rock uncased his guitar for a rare solo acoustic performance. “It does my heart good, all the swirling guitars,” commented The Violet Burning’s Michael Pritzl with a warm smile as he made his way to the stage.

About a year earlier, The Vast Expanse had shared the stage with The Violet Burning at the Minneapolis Christian Club The New Union (now Club 3 Degrees). That 2003 opening set was admirable and smacked of a band just beginning to find its voice. With the release of their independent Pre EP, The Vast Expanse has cleared its throat and stepped confidently to the mike to unleash an homage to some of the giants of alternative Christian rock.

The controlled setting of the studio has empowered The Vast Expanse with the subtleties of soaring accents, fattened vocals and booming drums that elevate their sound to a level that’s difficult to harness live. Recording band members Jason Refsland (vocals/rhythm guitar), Jason Gilmour (electric guitar/ebow/slide), Mike Swenson (drums) and Pradeepan Jeeva (bass) wear their influences on their sleeves in the five-song EP. Nods to The Violet Burning, Delirious?, and Coldplay are not delicate, yet The Vast Expanse is no mere rip-off band. They are genuinely striving to walk beside such greats.

Perhaps the band’s greatest strength is their ability to alter their sound and songwriting without laying aside their carefully crafted guitar sounds and catchy melodies. Stylings range from the staccato Psychedelic Fursish “Saturated” to the U2 October-era companion “Missing The Stars.”

Lyrically, The Vast Expanse convey a deep desire to connect with God despite human frailties and foul ups. “All my flaws all my faults keep getting in the way of us,” Refsland confesses in “Missing The Stars”; “It’s like you made the shore appear for me / When I didn’t know I was lost at sea,” he reflects in “Sail.”

The Vast Expanse are in the midst of an upward climb, increasing their stride with every step to try and match the footsteps of those amazing bands that have blazed the trail before them. With more sonic exploration and lyrical risk-taking, this band is perched to cut a parallel path to

Recommended if you like The Violet Burning, Starflyer 59, Cush, Common Children, Delirious?

Greg Adams 1/27/05



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