Great album cover, isn’t it?
At the end of January, I purchased Rend Collective Experiment’s new album, Campfire. As a fun blog post, I’m writing about the album and the songs.
Kumbaya: First song on the album. You’ll hear a 30-second version of the classic song with some light chords and fresh vocals. This is a great song to get into the worship mood.
Come on My Soul: I love how the track opened with a prayer. Xylophone at certain places added to the light feel of the song. The energetic strumming patterns and (sometimes helpfully rambunctious) synchronized perfectly with the lead vocals.
Desert Soul: This track is emotionally packed. The resounding chorus of “All that I am is dry bones without you Lord, a desert soul.” combined with a full-bodied accordion brings the listener down to a more serious mood. But fear not: the upbeat tempo keeps the song enjoyable.
Build Your Kingdom Here: A total favorite of mine. The Irish accents really make the tune sparkle with some foot-stomping authenticity. Perhaps the battle anthem of the modern worshiper, anyone who sings along will feel the entire church behind them with every cry of “build your kingdom here!” I was also especially drawn in by the ad-libbed repeats of the verse in between verse and chorus and the fingerpicking pattern in the first run of the last chorus.
Movements: First, the fingerpicking at the beginning is amazing. Second, I think that the melodic lilting tune really fit the title. This song made me feel the energy of going out into the world and moving toward God, no matter what tries to stand in my way. Toward the end of the song, the singers soulfully repeat “I won’t walk away/won’t walk away,” before returning once again to the energetic chorus.
You Are My Vision: I love hymns. I love this version of the hymn. The song opens with banjo, adding a violin after the first verse, giving the listener a very folksy and familiar feel. As always, Rend Collective succeeds in timing their background vocals to sing a freeing chorus of oh‘s. If you enjoy amazing harmonies and energetic hymns, then this song was made for you.
You Bled: The accordion and syncopated strumming patterns give off an air of a more somber moment. You’ll sway to the rhythm of the hand clapping. One of the more low-octane tracks, You Bled is great when we’re in an awe-filled moment. Even when we think of something so sad and humbling as the cross Jesus bore, we remember that He did it for love. “How marvelous, how boundless/is your love, is your love.” The bridge of “Yes, Jesus loves me/yes, Jesus loves me, how wonderful/Yes, Jesus loves me/This is love, you gave yourself,” helps to affirm God’s mercy even further, even inspiring a bit of nostalgia in those who sang “Jesus Loves Me” as a child.
The Cost: The Cost starts out with a swinging, folksy, fingerpicking pattern. This song is all about seeing the value of following Jesus. A strong chorus of “I’ve counted up the cost/yes, I’ve counted up the cost/I’ve counted up the cost/and you are worth it.” The subject of the song realizes that love results in receiving wounds and feeling some pain at times, but the sweet embrace of God makes every hit worth it.
Alabaster: This wins the award for best backstory. Alabaster is a precious stone. In Biblical times, the makers of alabaster perfume jars would create the jar so that the perfume could only be poured if the jar were broken. In Matthew 26, a woman poured perfume from a jar of alabaster (probably worth her life’s savings) onto Jesus’ feet, crying and anointing him. Like the woman, we come to the cross, broken, giving our lives to God. Seeing God’s glory, we don’t know anything but to fall to our knees and let Him work us to be like Him.
Second Chance: Through the cross, God gives us forgiveness. This song describes this concept. Through Him, we have so many second chances. Sin will try to ruin us as we struggle with our humanity, but God’s infinite power is “where our world begins again.” This idea is so amazing: we repent and are forgiven always, no matter how many times we mess up!
10,000 Reasons: Those who are fans of Matt Redman’s song “10,000 Reasons” will like this cover. The duet harmonies in the chorus blend together beautiful. More instruments come into the mix as the sing progresses, but the song remains mellow all the same. A note to worship leaders: I found the RCE version of this more “singable” than the Matt Redman version. This is the key of E, if you want to try it for your congregation.
Praise Like Fireworks: The lyrics are repetitive, but the instrumental track is a work of art. The handclap rhythms and xylophone truly contribute to a playful sound. “You’ve given us a heart, given us a home, with you,” is one of the most profound truths in Christianity, and I think that this song does well in communicating these basic truths: God’s given us a heart. We’ll lift our voices to Him and not let our humanity stop us!
Peace be with you. My next post will be on Ash Wednesday–stay tuned!