abandonAbandon's Control gets the re-mix treatment on four songs (including one from a very unexpected source), swelling the original to 17 tracks...

Control Expanded Edition
Forefront Records
17 tracks / 59:18

Abandon is a band in the newsboys school of Christian music: skilled, appealing, and talented on the one hand, but with a tendency toward being derivative, safe and somewhat generic on the other. Formulaic or not – and that fine distinction might simply exist in the ear of the listener – Abandon has contributed at least one CHR hit single ("Under Fire") and has had music featured on FOX Sports, ESPN's 2011 ESPY Awards and The Biggest Loser. They must be doing something right! This, the "Expanded Edition" of the group's 2011 release, Control, fleshes out the successful album by adding four newly remixed versions of songs featured on that project.

The Control album starts right out with danceable pop/rock with the lead track, "Feel it in Your Heart," an up-tempo tune relying on crisp, staccato guitar, synth-bass, rock-steady drums and a double-tracked lead vocal using a nice octave gap between the parts. This is followed by "Help," a song that begins to highlight the band's hooky, radio-ready sound – and also its occasional musical resemblance to the newsboys. The ironic coincidence is that lead singer Josh Engler at times sounds uncannily like former DC Talk member Kevin Max in his vocal phrasing and timbre, while the newsboys themselves have recently acquired Michael Tait – also formerly of DC Talk – to their line-up as lead vocalist. Of course this has nothing to do with the music itself, but certainly is interesting...

Throughout the album there are songs with more edginess than others, like "S.O.S." and "Push it Away," as well as the requisite rock ballads ("Why Does It Take So Long," "Known," and "Hero"), which are mostly weighted toward the end of the project. There are several radio-ready songs like "Live It Out" and the very newsboys-influenced "Talk to Me."

The Family Force 5 remix version of "Talk to Me" - billed as the 'Soul Glow Activatur aka Solomon Olds Remix' - removes the newsboys' 'whistling' riff and turns the song into more of a percussion-heavy dance track.

MuteMath's Darren King duct-tapes his headphones on to remix "Live It Out" introducing electronic sounds, filtered vocals and furious beats to the original, giving it a decidedly MuteMath-ish treatment. Another interesting coincidence: having a member of MuteMath, whose debut EP featured their signature song, "Control," doing a remix on an album of that very name.

Paper Route's Chad Howat's remix of "New Year's Day," keeps the integrity of the melody intact while injecting some surprising twists and turns to the setting.

Finally, David Crowder remixes "Under Fire," giving the song a bit more rhythmic momentum and a healthy dose of electronics.

Abandon's Control Expanded Edition will be available as a digital-only release available on all major online retailer sites, including iTunes, Amazon.com and more.

Meanwhile, the band is touring with newsboys....

-Bert Saraco