I've been following Rend Collective since they were an experiment coming out of Northern Ireland, but over the past 8 years, the band has cemented itself as one of the most upbeat and unpredictable bands in Christian music. There have been a number of hits during their tenure, with their biggest hit to date coming from their brand-new record, Good News.
With fans coming in at various points on the Rend Collective timeline, I thought it might be helpful to give people a tour of the band by highlighting the best (in my opinion) song on each of their eight projects. Make sure you check out Good News from Capitol Christian Music Group.
"Movements" from Organic Family Hymnal
Before Rend Collective was a big name in the states, they were a quirky "experiment"--no really, they were once called Rend Collective Experiment--that wore super colorful costumes and blew people's minds with their unorthodox musical arrangements and unpredictable lyrical choices.
The 2010 debut, Organic Family Hymnal released on Survivor Records and was a breath of fresh air as the modern worship movement was all about Chris Tomlin and people who sounded like him. This particular song provided a creative way to invite God to control one's life, singing: "I'm running fast and free to You / 'Cause You are the movement and fight in me / I'm running fast and free to You / 'Cause You are my home where I wanna be / Come move in me." With upbeat, cheery tones and rich harmonies, this was the introduction the band needed to hit their current trajectory.
"Build Your Kingdom Here" from Homemade Worship by Handmade People
The first real hit by Rend Collective (when they were still an "Experiment") is a call to action to the Church to put faith to action and see revival among the earth: "We seek Your kingdom first / We hunger and we thirst / Refuse to waste our lives / For You're our joy and prize." The arpeggiating banjo gives the already-energetic song an extra layer of energy. People resonated with singing "We are your church / And we pray revive this earth," and the song reached No. 27 on the U.S. Christian Songs chart on Billboard. Homemade Worship for Handmade People was a great intro to the greater Christian music world.
"10,000 Reasons" from Campfire
The Campfire album was designed to be a more raw, real, stripped-down version of what Rend Collective does, and this approach works exceptionally well on a well-known, well-trod worship anthem such as Matt Redman's "!0,000 Reasons." Led by Ali Gilkeson and Chris Llewellyn, Rend Collective turns this church anthem into a tender duet. The unplugged instrumentation makes way for a passionate vocal delivery, making the performance all the more powerful. Even in the midst of Rend's original songs on this project, this cover looms large.
"My Lighthouse" from The Art of Celebration
Perhaps Rend Collective's most well-known song--one that's done in churches regularly to this day--features a driving, foot-stomping, four-on-the-floor rhythm that describes the Lord as a guide in the midst of the raging waters of life. It's a lighthearted, fun song that invites crowds to respond with a hearty "hey!" in the bridge. Complete with mandolin, accordion and plenty of handclaps, it's a beautiful juxtaposition of simple instrumentation and high-energy arrangement--The Art of Celebration.
"For All That You Have Done" from Campfire Christmas
The final track from this self-produced Christmas album borrows from the classic New Year's song, "Auld Lang Syne" for its melody, but also converts some phrases to better reflect the grateful, reflective heart: "For all that You have done, for us / For every battle won / We'll raise a song to bless Your heart / For all that You have done." It's a reverent, thankful song with a familiar tune, perfect for looking back on God's faithfulness.
"You Will Never Run" from As Family We Go
Reaching No. 19 on the Christian Songs chart, the lead single from Rend's fourth major album is a mid-tempo number that has uptempo energy, celebrating the unfailing love of God: "Love stronger than the grave / Love rolled the stone away / Rising with endless majesty / Love takes us by the hand / Love is the wildest dance." Full of fun guitar hooks and even some subtle electronic elements, Rend Collective provides a more mellow successor to "My Lighthouse."
"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" from Campfire II: Simplicity
Once again, Rend Collective proves that the high point of its stripped-back Campire albums is its covers of well-known worship songs. The band's take on the iconic Hillsong United standard accentuates the best parts of both the original song as well as the unique sound of the band covering it.
"Rescuer (Good News)" from Good News
The latest single from Rend Collective has proven to be its most successful to date, hitting No. 15 so far on the Billboard U.S. Christian Songs chart. The boom-clap piano ballad is a beautiful blend of Southern soul and Irish balladry, with the unifying refrain: "He's our rescuer / He's our rescuer / We are free from sin forever more / Oh how sweet the sound / Oh how grace abounds / We will praise the Lord, our rescuer."
Marcus Hathcock is the Executive Editor of NewReleaseToday.com, a husband to Savannah, father of three and a worship leader living in Boise. He has released an EP, Songs For Tomorrow, and occasionally blogs at mheternal.com.
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