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Rend Collective Experiment "Organic Family Hymnal" - CD Review

By Ed Rotheram on March 22, 2011

If you haven’t already heard of Rend Collective Experiment, take a closer look around. The Northern Ireland-based collective are present on the new Tim Hughes album Love Shine Through, and his music video for "Counting on Your Name" (the guys on the brass). They’re also supporting Chris Tomlin on his latest tour of the US, and they have an album out of their own, which is why we’re here.....

The first track “Come on My Soul” sets the immediate tone for the album. The band describe themselves as a “collective of several twentysomethings”, producing “organic worship”. Listening to the first minute or so of this track I struggle to find better descriptive terminology. Opening the listener up for worship, the urge is to tear down walls, barriers holding us back from worshipping the Lord, and invite Him into our inner depths. When put to a crowd-style vocal line with a very subtle acoustic backing, this is not such a difficult task.

David Crowder joins the collective for the rousing “Faithful”, the second track of the album. This song has a great message, the verse speaking of the Lord’s undying love for us, His unending grace, and His great faithfulness. The chorus is lively, with a strong riff provided by the brass, set against a powerful, energetic drumbeat.

These guys really know how to do acoustic arrangements. Two highlights of note to illustrate this are found in “God is Near” and “You are Love”, the latter track having a very live feel to it, with a beautiful acoustic guitar line backed be a somewhat ethereal vocal arrangement. As is consistent with the rest of this album, the lead vocal is melodic and strong, with clear lyrical communication.

“God is Near” is along similar lines, with a progressive picked acoustic guitar accompanying a melody line moving seamlessly with it’s backing. I particularly like the chorus in this song, simply because it is so different from almost anything I have heard before. Once again, the relationship between the guitar and the melody line keeps the listener heavily engaged, and this is supplemented by another subtle arrangement, highlighting the strength of the production of this album, uncomplicated, yet with a powerful depth.

The “Hymnal” aspect of this album comes to the fore in two of the later tracks - “Thine Be The Glory” and “Love Divine”. Both of these versions are pleasantly refreshing, with strong rhythmic patterns in “Thine Be the Glory” being provided by heavy guitars, a powerful drumbeat and a pounding bass line. “Love Divine” is more reflective, bringing together the finest elements of this album - the backdrop of the brass, the ethereal vocals, and a well produced sound.

Standout Tracks

Come On My Soul

God Is Near

You Are Love

Love Divine

Organic Family Hymnal - Rend Collective Experiment

Review by Ed Rotheram (Review CD provided by Kingsway)


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