Prime Cuts: Rescuer (Good News), True North, Resurrection Day
Overall Grade: 4/5
Rend Collective's "Good News" is set on turbo-charge. The songs exude such a titanic force both in their spiritual and vocal intensities that they can topple any scaffold of doubt and fear. Covering some of the glorious themes of Scripture, such as the Cross ("Nailed to the Cross"), the resurrection ("Resurrection Day"), salvation ("Good News"), and perseverance ("Marching On"), this album hits all the high points of the Christian faith with great perspicuity. Listen to these songs long enough and they will give you vocabularies to express our faith in refreshing ways. Coupled with such a lofty endeavour is Rend Collective's lead vocalist Chris Llewellyn's vocal execution. With a passion that is so immediate and engaging, it is as if Llewellyn ants to jump right out of the speakers whenever he sings.
As with their previous efforts, Rend Collective is the Mumford and Sons of the worship genre. This means they have a creative way of fashioning their own version of nu-folk with elements of Irish folk, Americana, rock and pop. Forward thinking worship leaders already looking for new Easter songs would do well in considering "Resurrection Day." With an infectious Ed Sheerman-esque melody that get you humming in no time, "Resurrection Day" is an application song. It takes the doctrine of Christ's resurrection and applies it into our day to day living. Such a take not only gives a fresh spin on Easter but it also helps our congregates apply God's truth to their lives.
Likewise, the celebratory "Rescuer (Good News)" takes the theme of Jesus as Savior and applies it within the different contexts of our lives (such as how Christ rescues us from doubts, fears, strives, and so forth). If you are looking for a reprise of their signature tune "Build Your Kingdom Here," take a listen to "Life is Beautiful." Nevertheless, not all the songs fall into the rowdier camp, "Hymn of the Ages" (a Rend Collective original and not the Matt Redman/Graham Kendrick tune), as the titular suggests, is more hymn-like. While "True North" is a beauty. Nested in a cosy acoustic setting of gentle guitars, "True North" is a song that looks to God's leading ending with the faith declaration, "Lord, lead me into the dark."
Yet, not everything is perfect. As much as Llewellyn is a stellar vocalist who wears his heart on his sleeve, he gets a little too intense far too often. This makes the listening experience a tad draining when he goes on the highest decibel all the time. Softer ballads like "Yahweh," "Weep for Me," and "Nailed to the Cross" would be much more effective if he were to modulate his intensity from time to time. Moreover, Hillsong Young and Free are credited as a duet partner on "Marching On," but what on earth is their role? The song in no way showcase an iota of their creativity; it's essentially a Rend Collective song though and through.
Despite the quibbles, "Good News" lives up to its titular. Rend Collective is up, front and center on fire as far as the Gospel, worship and the Christian faith are concerned. If you want to hear a band who incarnates what they sing, give this disc a spin.