"Give Us Rest" review
Posted January 06, 2012
The David Crowder*Band has not dropped many hints about their final album Give Us Rest (except for releasing the track-listing, and, for more avid Googlers, 30-second track previews on the Amazon). For their previous release, Church Music, the Crowder Band teased fans with daily videos of the recording process in Crowder's barn, and occasionally leaked snippets of songs through these videos. This created a completely intentional, well-orchestrated excitement and mystery behind Church Music. However, their approach to the anticipation behind Give Us Rest has developed quite differently. By withholding almost all relevant information and other elements of intrigue, the CD's impending release has elicited a sort of reverent processional toward January 10, the album's release date.
Give Us Rest is a massive 100 minutes spread across a two-disc set. The two discs represent a collision of death and life, undoubtedly conveying Crowder's cleverness with the whole death-resulting-in-life theology behind Christianity, and giving his own spin to the traditional idea behind the Requiem. Disc 1 is a guttural plea for mercy from the Lord (Kyrie eleison) with desperate lyrics such as "Oh my God, what have I done?" and depicts a downcast sinner crying out to God for redemption. Disc 2 reveals the sinner as completely forgiven, free, and joy-filled, and as a result, the entire second disc has a completely different feel, and a more uplifting vibe.
Despite keeping within the basic outline of the traditional Requiem form, the DC*B puts its own stamp on the entire genre, arguably innovating just as much as Johannes Brahms, when he controversially decided to compose his Requiem in German, rather than Latin. The Crowder Band's Requiem is laced with Latin (though primarily in English), but is also injected with completely fresh musical and conceptual elements, such as playing on the meaning of the Requiem's sequence, and fearlessly concluding with totally rockin' bluegrass tracks.
The Requiem commands the listener's full attention for its entire duration, and passive listening just doesn't justify the band's effort here. This release deserves the attention one would give to a live performance of, say, the Mozart or Faure Requiems. The attacca transitions, and ambient tracks that are interwoven to connect the more congregational songs are completely unconventional, fresh, and totally DC*B.
All Rights Reserved, Jonathan Butler 2012
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