I’ve had a month off from doing reviews or adding to my blog as a bit of a cleansing thing.
You know, step back and focus on the things that matter.
But now we’re back… and what a great time to be back.
I was super excited when the new album from Irish group ‘Rend Collective’ landed. ‘The Art of Celebration’ is most likely one of the most uplifting albums you will hear this year, and the year has only just begun.
Not only are you thrown into the Irish infused toe tapping Mumford-esque beats and rhythms that fans would expect from this group, but you are bombarded by truths and promises and uplifting words that speak to your soul…
It’s laced with the beautiful harmonies and melodies that come naturally to the Irish nation, and you can’t help but smile, sing along and watch as your foot taps involuntarily to the rhythms as they invade the soundscape of your soul.
Some times in the hardest moments of your life you not only need to PRAY through a problem, but PRAISE through (like Paul and Silas did in prison). ‘The Art of Celebration’ gives you the tools to do that!
One of the focuses of this album is “God didn’t give us a spirit of seriousness… but of JOY” and you can’t help but think that these guys have nailed that brief.
Most of the album sits in the space between bluegrass rhythms and Irish tinged folksy ditties that help us sing about ‘Joy’ and ask God to help us “Burn like a star, Set a fire in our hearts”. Then in sneaks ‘Immeasurably More’, a pop driven song that is maybe more in line with the type of tracks you would find coming out of the Passion conferences. It’s no surprise to see it was co-written by Chris Tomlin.
I would have loved to see a bit more experimentation from a group who had made a name for itself playing all sorts of random instruments. While the feel of this album works for the theme of ‘Joy’, I wonder if they could have cast their experimental net further. That will be my only real negative critique of this album… it was the experiment, the unknown, the things I HADN’T heard from a worship group that made me take interest in their sound. However, lyrically they have still got a poetic way of saying things we are starting to take for granted. A great example is the sing-a-long friendly ‘Finally Free’
“Your mercy rains from heaven, Like confetti at a wedding, And I am celebrating, In the downpour”
You don’t hear lyrics like that, so hearing them in a familiar setting (such as a folk song) brings it into context.
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands… or if you’re sad, and struggling…. PRAISE, SING, CELEBRATE…
It’s great to hear such a positive album with no airs and graces, simply with good melody and good lyrics and joy at it’s very heart.
There is already too much doom and gloom and people wanting us to jump on their cause, when the joy of the Lord is our strength.
So why don’t we celebrate the fact that we have so much to celebrate?