Category Archives: Music Review
My thoughts on the latest albums
About October every year I start to search for new Christmas songs to add to my growing list of carols… I have enough for a whole days listening so far.
However wading through some of the new albums is like listening to the sound of a wrecking ball smash all your favourite Christmas songs into 1000 little tiny pieces.
So what is the best of this years Christmas offering?
For Those about to ROCK:
OK… so for the lovers of Christmas songs that rock a little harder than the usual…. here is this year’s picks:
John Schilitt: The Christmas project
For those who remember the good old days of Christian rock, you would remember the legendary band Petra. John Schlitt was lead singer for the popular Christian rock band from 1984-2006. For those who like the whole 80′s hair rock, and the rock from the 90′s such as Def Leppard, Aerosmith etc, this would be a good fit… rocking up some old classics, and like any good rock band from that era the vocals are enough to break window panes… let me hear you Scccccccccreeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmmmm!
Side note: If you are looking for a little rocking single, download ‘Little Drummer Boy’ by Whiteheart… a bit of a Christmas rock classic that you should have in your collection
For those looking for some soul:
Ok something heavy isn’t your thing what about some Gospel based stuff.
Marvin Sapp: A Christmas Card
Marvin, who made his name in the contemporary gospel group ‘Commissioned’ with his distinct Gospel sound, gives a rounded Christmas album with ‘A Christmas Card’ . This album gives a good mixture of new Christmas focused songs as well as a scattering of old classics with a modern Gospel twist.
Jonathan Butler: Merry Christmas to you
The first Christmas album by the two-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter-guitarist Jonathan Butler is a little gem. Gospel, soul and jazz tinged Christmas songs with a couple of new songs to make sure this album is one for the stocking. It has some great gentle jazz infused guitar colouring this album from the start to the end… just enough to keep you wanting more, like that turkey you’ll go for seconds for!
A little poppy and something new:
I LOVE discovering people who are doing some of my favourite songs in new and exciting ways… and I love finding albums that bring new Christmas songs and that tell the Christmas message (which is thousands of years old) in a new and exciting way!
For King & Country: Into the silent night
This has to be the greatest find for me this Christmas.
With the Indie pop infused feel of the likes of FUN (Some Nights) this EP is just a cool little album, mixing great harmonies with beats that push the songs forward and the pop sensitivity of a marshmallow in a hot chocolate – sweet and gooey with depth and flavour.
The single ‘Baby Boy’ is my favourite new song this Christmas with a chorus that cries ‘Allelujah’… pushing towards the phrase “Endless hope and endless joy started with a Baby Boy” – isn’t that how Christmas started?
Citizens: Repeat the Sounding joy
For some funky Indie pop from Mark Driscolls ‘Mars Hill Church’, check out Citizens. Funky guitars and horn sections give a feel of SKA music without actually being a SKA band… it’s great to hear this sound re-imagined. This is a fun album and will almost guarantee to get your foot tapping at some of the arrangement. The great thing about albums that sit with more of an Indie feel is that they often aren’t as polished as some other albums… and believe me for albums like this it’s a great thing.
The Classic ‘Christmas’ album:
Some people are just looking for a Christmas album that does stray to much from the norm… it’s the sound of the malls and I understand that… so hear are some new albums with that middle of the road Christmas sound.
Brandon Heath: Christmas is Here
“Chestnuts roasting by an open fire…” accompanied by the sound of strings and a soft snare drum being played by sliding brushes. This sums up this album. For those who like Micheal Buble then this is the type of album you need to add to your list this Christmas.
Sidewalk Prophets: Merry Christmas to You
Like Brandons album the Sidewalk Prophets ‘Merry Christmas to You’ is filled with strings and fun as the band focus on bringing you faithful renditions of some of the classic arrangements that we know for Christmas… From the ‘doo wops’ from ‘White Christmas’ to the haunting melodies of ’What Child is this’…
Just for Fun:
A Christmas is a time where we remember the gift we were given by God at Christmas, his son Jesus Christ. It should be a celebration, and while there are times to be reflective it’s about coming together as a family and celebrating.
If only I could find an album that is fun, but Christ focused, family focused but not stiff around the neck…
The Robertson Family: Duck the Halls, a Robertson Family Christmas
The Robertson family have shot to fame with their fly on the wall reality TV show called ‘Duck Dynasty’, that show’s a multi-millionaire Christian redneck family, that made it’s money from making Duck callers. The focus of the family is Christ, family and the love for the south, and these guys (and gals) will make you chuckle out loud as they just say things as they see it.
The albums is true to this also, with members of the Robertson family reading parts of the Christmas story and a mixture of a few classics like “I’ll be home for Christmas” and “Away in the Manger” with award winning bluegrass star Alison Krauss. Most the album is a fun country/bluegrass redneck Christmas with “Santa looks a lot like Daddy” “Camouflage and Christmas lights” and “Hairy Christmas” with Country stars like George Strait, Luke Bryan and Josh Turner also helping out along the way.
This album is worth the money for the closing prayer alone… remember what Christmas is about and thanking Jesus for dying on the cross and raising again so that we could too. If only every Christmas album could be as upfront about the gospel message as this one is.
I think it’s when the artist can release an album that when stripped back stands on it’s own merits, both lyrically and melodically… and still makes you feel like it’s relevant and forward focused.
This is why I love Luke’s approach to his music “I try write each song as if it’s my last” says Dowler.
Lets be honest, with all the hype of album releases and hit songs and the occasional craze hit single, isn’t the thing the music buying public is most interested in songs that connect to them?
These new songs from Lukes newest EP ‘West’ are the best he’s produced yet.
The EP starts of with the pulse of the bass drum , and some percussive clicks, before the familiar groove of the acoustic guitar pull the song ‘Revelation Firewater’ in.
I knew when I heard this track that Luke had grown. It was a strange mixture of Dave Matthews and Bruce Springsteen but still uniquely Dowler…
‘Good Enough’ has to be my favourite track on the album… this is the type of track that Luke fits best in. Sure, he can do other styles well (as this album will show) however this type of track is where Luke is G.O.L.D.
‘Good enough’ is a heart felt track that has a swag of a southern song, the gospel feel church and a whole heap of soul… it starts off beautifully with an acoustic guitar and Luke lamenting “You’re taking me for a ride, but I’m doing all the driving”. It’s a soul searching song that leaves Luke asking “Let me know when it’s good enough for you”… as the song grows so does the soul of the song.
‘Hold up the Sky’ a simple bluesy track that again showcases Dowler’s craft of songwriting. This is the most stripped back track of the album and is what Luke is all about. This is heart and soul. This is about love. This is about adventure. This is about creating. This is about holding on to the things you treasure the most.
“Most people want the best things in life, but they don’t want to watch them grow”
The EP finishes with what I think is a bit of an odd choice. ‘Halfway’ is a track that is heavy on the drum machine beats and is a bit of a distraction from the path the other tracks have laid before it. While I can see the need to try and highlight the fact that Luke is multi-dimensional and can do a variety of styles… it just feels a bit out of place… It’s great that Luke tried to push new ground, however what Luke does best is the heart felt, soul tinged melodies that connect with you when you least expected.
And so ‘West’ seems to show a new ‘all grown up’ version of Luke Dowler.
Luke has discovered his groove, his soul and his heart and this is the most complete album from Luke yet.
If this is the new direction that Luke is going to be going in, I really look forward to see more of it.
When did music lose it’s innocence?
Sure there have always been streams of the music industry that have been pushing the boundaries and that’s great but doesn’t it seem that everything has just been condensed down to love and hate?
It’s like we have taken the prized bull and boiled it up until all we have is an Oxo cube… do we really want beef stock rather than the bull itself?
To a point we can expect that from the secular music industry… cliche after cliche, remix after remix of a song that used to be famous when people still used to play music and sing music as if it was a craft that was about connecting people rather than just making a quick buck… with the sole focus to make people famous.
I can understand that from the secular music industry… but when did our church music become so obvious and bland?
I’ve listened to Kiwi singer/songwriter and worship leader David Lyle Morris for a couple of years now… and the first thing that comes to my mind is ‘innocence’.
David has this amazing ability to craft songs that would have stood along side the great artist such as Air Supply, James Taylor and Carole King.
His writing is honest, it’s heart felt, it’s thoughtful and with the fear of sounding condescending I am tempted to use the word ‘sweet’.
In fact the first time I saw him lead worship with just an acoustic guitar, I closed my eyes and I could almost imagine what it might have been like to worship with King David (if he played a guitar not a harp!)… there is a real authenticity that some people try to mimic but that you just can’t fake, and when you are around David Lyle Morris you just know that his heart is to help turn your eyes to God.
The album ‘Endlessly’ is a well crafted album and the album starts with ‘Start of something new’ a song for his boy Eino.
It’s a really honest song talking about the excitement and the forward looking nature of a Dad excited to share in the first moments with his son and the legacy that the Father wants the son to take up… Lines like “This is the start of a family tree, you’re the little branch under me” show the simplicity of Davids lyrics while at the same time casts great imagery.
In fact this album is full of so much imagery, and not in a daunting and heavy way but in a way that helps you relate with the song. In fact it really enhances the songs. Songs like ‘Caledonia Girl’ reminds me of James Taylor… the story telling, the melodic way that the music draws you into the story.
Endlessly is an honest album… Songs like ‘Open my eyes’ really start to show case the pureness of Davids vocals and the team around him just gently push, and nudge the song to enhance its colour.
Do you know what an album sounds like when you can tell that each instrument and layer and nuance of the song is there to make the other instruments sound better?.. it sounds like ‘Endlessly’.
It’s full of space… it’s full of meaning… it’s uncluttered and real.
Maybe David Lyle Morris is New Zealand’s own shepherd worship leader?
Maybe David is our new contemporary version of David the shepherd boy?
Do you know what happens when you add water to your favourite Pop drink?
You get a half strength watered down version of your favourite drink, less ‘pop’ and less flavour.
Newboys is known as a band that crossed boundaries, that had a good blend of electronic and rock, lyrics that were clever and thought provoking. I mean who can forget the cleverness of lyrics like :
Isabelle is a belly dancer with a kleptomaniac’s restraint
Tried stealing Helena’s hand basket, made a fast getaway, but McQueen she ain’t
At the courtroom Joshua judges her ruthlessly on account of Ruth walking out on him
In the Big House Isabelle is a-telling all to the chaplain who’s become her friend
-Newsboys “take me to your leader”
This album ‘Restart’ is none of the above traits from the Newsboys… it’s not clever, the lyrics are predictable and the sound is like every other pop sound on the radio. Maybe the album should be called ‘Rehash’.
I have to say I almost telegraphed it when I saw the cover picture of the Newsboys ‘Restart’ I though “Isn’t this a version B cover of the ‘Born again’ cover?”
The world gave a collective sigh of relief when the Newsboys brought out the album ‘Born Again’ in 2010 with new lead singer Michael Tait (DC Talk and Tait) it was an album that many believed would be the footprint of where the band would be heading creatively, it seemed like the creative hit that the band needed.
So we have ‘Restart’ – this album is not all bad, it is simplistic and has great tunes. This would actually make a great kids album…. in fact when I played ‘Live with abandon’ to my wife she made the comment “Is this a kids album”
When I said to her “Ummmm, No I don’t think so”
She replied “Oh??? It really does sound like a kids album”
Maybe we’re just being to spoilt here in the Southern hemisphere, with groups like Planetshakers, Hillsong, Hillsong United and Parachute Band?
Now I understand the need for music diversity on the music landscape and if we all copied the aforementioned bands we would be bored, but I can’t understand why a band that can release great albums like ‘Going Public’ ‘Take Me To Your Leader’ and ‘Born Again’ could not see and album like this as anything but sub par???
I might sound cynical but I wonder if the success of Toby Mac’s electronic infused ‘Eye on It’ album tipped the hat in the direction of a more electronic infused Newsboys album…. and it’s understandable, it’s not uncommon to hear a swag of ‘same sounding’ bands after the release of a big band with a new sound… remember how many groups followed the electronic sound of The Black Eyed Peas ‘The E.N.D.’ album? It seemed like EVERYONE was jumping on the 8 bit band wagon.
The Newsboys are great ambassadors for hard working Christian bands, and it’s easy to rate their albums high based on what they have done before and the way their songs may have impacted you in the past…. however the music industry doesn’t get softer with age, and bands like the Newsboys need to be aware (as I’m sure they are) that they are that they are paving the way once again for a new range of young and upcoming bands that are in the middle of a world full of mediocre music and lyrics and we (as a collective group) be making sure that the music that come out of the walls of the church are the MOST creative and the MOST influential. However Newsboys have released a good album, that is safe and easy and nothing new and exciting an a world that is needing new and exciting…. and what makes it even more disappointing is they did it by giving up the sound that they fought so hard to develop.
Jars of Clay have found the sound that defines them…. they have found their place on the musical landscape.
From their debut self titled album in 1995 where they were “the Christian Toad the Wet Sprocket” to “If I left the Zoo” where they almost had a ‘Counting Crows’ feel to them, there have been touches of 80′s instrumentation added to the mix over the years too, but now…. here is a band comfortable in who they are…. a band with it’s own sound that is a real accumulation of their musical journey.
‘Inland’ is the first album since Jars of Clays 2010 collaborative effort ‘The Shelter’ – so which Jars of Clay will turn up?
From the very first tracks you hear that this is going to be a very organic album…. it has a very Indie heart to this album and it’s no surprise as you see that Tucker Martine who has worked with the likes of The Decemberists, R.E.M. , Beth Orton and Sufjan Stevens all of which are Indie alternative folk artists.
Tucker is definitely at the helm and you can hear his influence on the album with tracks like ‘Fall Asleep’ bringing back memories of R.E.M.’s ‘Night swimming’.
One of the greatest things about Jars of Clay is they aren’t worried about ‘the usual’ radio sound…. and that has to be rewarded. The music is something that is onomatopoeic in it’s approach you hear the lyrics and the music is almost mimicking the feel, the sound, the tension of the song and you hear the alarms ring as they sing about getting your attention.
This isn’t a comfortable album to listen to… it’s alternative in it’s approach, it doesn’t have nice edges to it and will push you… if not lyrically…. maybe musically. I like that… music with dimension to it…. (who would have guessed that it could happen in this day and age) . The band even touches on previously untouched ground like ‘Loneliness and Alcohol’. While I’m sure other Christian artists may have touched in the subject Jars of Clay have given it the real focus it needs:
“Tell me of the world you’re leaving
While you’re swinging like a wrecking ball
Bury all your love in secrets
And loneliness in alcohol”
I love how the album signs off…. with the song ‘Inland’- no man is an Island and it’s a multi-dimensional approach to it… community and the God that never leaves you.
“Just keep heading inland and come on home to me
Yeah come on home to me”
This is the most complete album that Jars of Clay have released (maybe ever) and certainly deserves a listen…. even if it’s only for tracks like ‘After the Fight’ and ‘Fall asleep’ however it’s an album that has the best of what the band has done previously (in sound and lyric) but has enough foresight and edge to give this album longevity that would leave other Christian albums that will be coming out this year lost in this years offerings as the compete for the latest sound.
Inland will stand alone as a pioneer album in a world of albums that are happy to be in the safe flow of the mainstream…. and this is the Irony of Jars of Clay.
As you would see through my blog, I like Music… however almost even more than that I like discovering music, new music music that’s often left undiscovered by the masses unless people who like to dig and discover new music dig them up from the underground/indie treasure chest that many labels have decided to use to pave their way.
Now one genre I like to soak in every now and then is hip-hop… But I have to be honest I haven’t listened to good hip-hop for a while… or at least not good NEW hip-hop. All the hip-hop that’s on the radio is just boring and predictable… all about bling and girls… or a guy in bling and surrounded by girls in bikinis saying how poor they are (forgetting the fact they have a major record label and are on tour with 4 other major hip-hop stars)… I just roll my eyes and think “Oh please”
Hip-hop used to be authentic
Hip-hop used to be clever
Hip-hop used to push boundaries
Hip-hop used to say something that people wanted to say but couldn’t in a 3 minute song
I grew up with groups like De La Soul, Jurassic 5, A Tribe called Quest, The Beastie Boys, Bone Thugs & Harmony and Run DMC, all groups that paved the way for other genres and hip-hop groups… and while not all of them had something wonderful to say all the time… they at least were pushing the boundaries to places that other groups had never thought about… and when they weren’t they were helping young minds to think about where they are at and what they are about. You can recgonise the root of where the music came from in some music today and a lot of the above names are the genesis point.
They were groups at made a name for themselves in the mainstream but kept their feet firm in the underground… where the people live and breathe.
However now these groups have for a large part gone to ground who is taking up the mantle?
Who is filling the void?
That’s why when I discovered the guys at Humble Beast. I was like “thank goodness… some good quality hip-hop that actually says something… but not only that… groups that push boundaries”
The guys are so passionate about hip-hop and what they have to say that they are giving their albums away…
And it’s good stuff… I mean REALLY good stuff!
Artists like ‘Propaganda’ who’s style sits somewhere between roots and beat poetry… it’s clever and it makes you think about the world you live…
Artist like ‘Beautiful Eulogy’s who’s new album ‘Satellite Kite’ is hip-hop that is rooted in the past while the lyrics and style are pushing future boundaries, and they’re already featuring in Red bull skate and surfing. No one else seems to be pushing the organic sound in hip-hop like these guys… While everyone else is on the beeps and buzz sound pushed forward by the likes of Will.I.Am and his Black eyed Peas buddies it’s great to hear new sounds again.
They say on their website:
“Humble Beast is a collective of artists, who make music & resources. With each production, Humble Beast aims to be compelling & authentic for our culture. We pour our lives into each of these resources & in turn we give them away for free”
It’s good stuff… and they certainly are living up to what they said above… you’re not getting any dregs here folks… this is the Cream you’re getting here!
For free downloads of ANY of the Humble Beast albums click HERE!
It’s all about context.
There seems to be so many mega churches putting out albums full of generic worship songs that talk about Gods grace and goodness but miss the heart of it all… sometimes it just seems like they are just putting words to paper, and do ‘Worship by numbers’ – now please hear me I’m not saying that these songs aren’t authentic or can’t be used… I just sometimes think they lose their organic-ness due to deadlines etc.
And so it’s refreshing when you hear an album like Malcolm Gordon’s ‘Into the Deep’
You find yourself being drawn into the worship. It’s not about lights… it’s not about performance it’s about turning your eyes upwards… and it’s so natural.
Malcolm is a Presbyterian Minister, serving as the music director at St Peters in Tauranga in New Zealand… and the easy going nature that New Zealanders are renown for certainly shows in his music.
I love how Malcolm’s music is constantly routed not only in the Bible but also church tradition… a constant step forward while being rooted in the past. The Song Christ Before Me was inspired by ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’ an old hymn that is thought to have been originally written in the 8th Century. Most of the songs have this foundation of scripture first which could seem quite heavy although Malcolm treats the scripture with respect and beauty and the result is a beautifully flowing album with real kiwi tinge and a large helping of Celt.
The album takes you on a journey as you start with ‘Waiting For the Dawn’ a real sense of expectations as you find yourself singing ”Yes I am longing, For Jesus to come”… and then you are gently lead throughout the scriptures.
In fact being lead would be a really good way to describe how this album takes you to a place where you find yourself in worship, and it’s done so naturally you don’t have to think about it, the worship is something that just flows from where the music leads.
The real highlight of the album is when you hit the acapella filled song ‘How Long Lord’ based on Psalm 13 sung as a Celtic tinged round… it’s melodic, it’s soothing and it’s the perfect time on the album to change the feel of the album.
Although this album is beautiful as a whole it’s each song that really feel like they have been individually hand crafted that really bring it together.
This is a beautiful inspired album.
I live in New Zealand, it’s a small place in the bottom of the pacific that is a melting pot of great music.
One of the things that works the best with the pacific musical blend is Dub and Reggae vibes, with bands like The Black Seeds, Tiki Taane, Salmonella Dub and Fat Freddys Drop pushing the boundaries. So its fair to say I know what great reggae, dub and roots sound like.
So I was excited when I heard the vibes around the group Tasman Jude, a reggae based group made up of Bravehart (from Trinidad & Tobago) & Al Peterson (From Canada) an unusual combination on paper if you look at just the countries of origin you would have to admit – however what I heard was something fresh, and I liked it.
‘El Norteno’ starts off with an acoustic reggae based groove that reminded me of Jack Johnson, until the vocal came in with a Matisyahu type of flow and sets the rest of the album up with the track ‘Fountains’… it was great to hear people taking reggae back to it’s roots more.
I loved seeing pictures of Bob Marley early in his recording career with an acoustic guitar surround by his band all circled around one mic. That to me symbolizes the essence of great reggae music.
Our radio-waves are filled with over produced reggae with hundreds of dubbed over tracks and beats and while they might be what people are calling for it takes away the innocence that reggae resembles… rebels with peace and love and truth in their voices with the promise of a new revolution based on these things.
‘El Norteno’ is filled with this vibe. Tasman Jude are cutting across the grain to give you something that others aren’t giving you… reggae with heart.
‘Take You Away’ is the perfect example of great acoustic grooves with a reggae vibe that Tasman Jude lay before you… it’s the way Canada and Trinidad & Tobago work together… great catchy melody’s and sunny island attitude that’s relaxed and feelin’ great.
It’s the essence of this combination that makes Tasman Jude’s sound work so well.
The track ‘Whoa’ is certainly the standout track on this album, and starts to push Tasman Jude’s sound to a place that becomes a bit more raw, and gives a really good example of how the band would sound live. It almost brings some harder elements into the sound reminiscent of groups like Sublime.
An album with more tracks would hopefully highlight some more of these sounds, as it’s a fine balance with Tasman Jude’s type of sound between too much of the same and trying to fit too much in which can make the sound seem cluttered.
I love how this album is raw, not over produced and highlights the basics of what this group represents, great melody, a fresh relaxed vibe and clean sounds.
This is the best of what acoustic sounds are on the radio at the moment…
Its great to hear bands not just bragging about going back to their roots… but actually doing it.
I’m a firm believer that the music that’s in the church should sound like the music that’s being played outside the church only the lyrics are uplifting and God focused… this follows the tradition of people like Martin Luther who used pub songs as the melodies for his hymns or William Booth when he used the Brass band (The Rock band of the day).
Ian Yates seems like he’s standing on the shoulders of these giants when he gives us ‘Really Good News’ or what you could call ‘Good News 1.5′ as it is a follow up EP right on the heals of his last release ‘Good News’.
Now this isn’t a bad thing… it’s almost like Ian is saying “we released our album ‘Good News’, but we couldn’t wait for you to hear some of the new stuff we were working on”.
The great thing about this EP is that it follows on perfectly from the album ‘Good News’, a lot of EP’s of this nature are like random songs that are thrown together and called an EP to bridge a gap between full length albums.
Ian’s strength is his ability to find great melodies and take fairly big subjects and make them simple for people to understand.
I mean it’s one thing to be able to pick up a great melody… but to have a great melody with a lyric that will stick in your brain is a much harder task… however it’s something that Ian manages to do with great ease and then like a magician he also adds this dance type feel to some of the tracks bridging the gap between church and club, chapel and pub… this is the easy part… the hard part is maintaining the gaze on the creator of it all… and Ian’s focus is firmly fixed on him.
All through the album Ian fights this great tension between dance-able poppy church music and something that’s more meaningful… there are times when Ian seamlessly crosses from pop/rock to a kind of dub-step feel (like in Heavens Open) the really cool thing is that he does it well, and by that I mean is that it doesn’t feel forced or out of place.
The message could have been really easily lost in the ideas of the music however the music seems to push the ideas of the songs further… and that’s how it should be.
I like a worship album with tension… the wrestle with the music and lyrics that unmask the emotion of the things we want to say but don’t know where to start.
Ian gives you words simple and true “All we are is found in you” and then gives us a platform in which to direct them to the God he wants to turn your eyes to.
The bottom line is if you are into worship music that you want to sing along with, be challenged by and have songs where you understand what you are actually singing about because all of the church jargon has been removed and replaced with words we actually use… then make sure you check out this EP… and even better… it’s FREE… or you can even pay for it if you think it’s an artist you feel like you should support, because he’s just that good.
Check out the EP HERE… you won’t be disappointed!
I love the beach… I love everything about it… the fresh wind… the warm sand through my toes… the romance of it… the ruggedness of it… the freedom of it, it’s no wonder that this is the place that Rend Collective Experiment chose record their latest album.
I’ve tried to think back and I honestly don’t think I remember smiling so much through a worship album than I did when I listened through the latest album from these Irish folk.
Rend decided to feed their continued focus on community by releasing a live album of songs from their last two albums Organic Family Hymnal and Homemade Worship by Handmade People… both great albums in their own right., however don’t think for one minute that Rend will give you just the same thing as they gave you on these albums… Rend are far two creative for that. This album is filled with the the new-folk joys of the original albums with all the surprise and quirkiness of their Indie vibe.
The band was so keen to have a ‘live worship’ feel and a real sense of community that they put out an invitation via Twitter and Facebook for people to come and participate around a campfire on Ballyholme beach where all the vocals were recorded live… and thus atmosphere is created… it was literally recorded around a campfire… I mean how cool is that????
The Album starts with the call to worship… ‘Kumbaya’ – it’s a stroke of genius… the ultimate campfire song is re-visioned into a cry for God to be a part of the album, the continued worship.
The first track I heard from this album was ‘Movements’ - I was excited to hear it live, and I was at first a bit puzzled… yes it was a great song… but what have you done to this great pop number… however before long I found myself smiling and singing along… I was drawn into the song… drawn into the atmosphere… I could almost feel the heat of the campfire against my skin.
Then it dawned on me it wasn’t about the song or the arrangement… it was about community… eccelesia (a movement… church)
The concept of the album demands new arrangements .. new feels… new twist mainly because of the simple fact that beaches don’t usually have power… however what is birthed from the album is fresh and new and exciting.
Rend have even taken the Matt Redman ’10,000 reasons’ and re-visioned it for around the campfire and again the song takes on a new personality and the focus once again changes
Gone of the days where worship was confined to churches… gone are the days where church music was paint by numbers worship… or had to feel a certain way… Rend are breaking it down… knocking down stereo types and creating something that is so fresh that people can’t help but be drawn into it.
The creativity on this album… the honesty of this album… almost begs you to look to one direction… and that’s up!
Forget Mumford and Son’s or Arcade Fire or The Lumineers… Rend has not only the heart and fire… but a deep soul. If you’re going to listen to the next wave of New-Folk and Indie… don’t look past Rend Collective Experiement.
Come… lets sit around a campfire and sing… lets tell stories… lets create community… or at least start living in the one God has put us in!