My Rating: 4.7 / 5
Rend Collective, the Christian folk group hailing from Northern Ireland, released their second live album Campfire II: Simplicity earlier this month.
At their early beginnings, Rend Collective came together as a self-described “group of confused twenty-somethings trying to figure out faith, life, God and community” with a knack for whimsical and out-of-the-box instruments and melodies. As their success has grown, Rend Collective aims to stay true to its original mission- to invite in and spiritually inspire those who have strayed from God, encouraging and reviving them. Campfire II: Simplicity works to further this mission with authentic worship anthems that easily invite in the listener and harbor a sense of community, framed within their foot-stomping, contagious Irish folk sound.
Originally heard on their album As Family We Go, “Every Giant Will Fall” begins with an introduction of the melody on bagpipes. The first chorus opens into an ensemble only of voices in harmony, declaring that nothing is impossible with God. An easy and uplifting tune, it quickly invites you into its groove and is carried along with vocals, supporting instruments and drums. In contrast, Rend Collective’s signature stomp-and-clap feel is stripped away in “Whatever Comes.” In place of the usual folk Irish influence is a raw and intimate song expressed solely through lead vocal and acoustic guitar, with supporting voices chiming in sparingly. The expression of the melody eases you into a peaceful attitude of worship, as it asks God to help keep us brave and steady in Him no matter what we may face.
Blending in seamlessly with the rest of the album, Rend Collective brings their signature stamp to “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail),” the recent worship favorite from Hillsong UNITED. They start it off with banjos and up tempo drum kicks that continue throughout, while male and female vocals play back and forth telling the story. Rend Collective’s unique style transforms this well-known track into a driving song of celebration with moments of slowed contemplation, while sharing God’s promise that He will never fail us regardless of what depths and fear we experience.
Furthering feelings of community and open invitation, “Your Royal Blood” features a gospel choir-like worship feel and sound. The lead vocal begins with simple melody and rhythm accompaniment, soon joined with a building chorus of voices. The song further develops with somewhat of a jazz influence, as a trumpet begins adding crafty phrases. The voices build in proclamation, mirrored as the trumpet and accompaniment build as well, declaring God’s eternal victory and His ability to help us overcome our sin.
True to its inspiration, Campfire II: Simplicity easily transports the listener to a gathering of friends around a fire. Rend Collective shares, “The vision behind this project is so near to our hearts. We long to see outsiders invited in, hope restored to the hopeless, rest for the cynics and revival for God’s people. We pray these songs encourage, equip and speak life to all who hear them." Campfire II: Simplicity unapologetically comes to the table, offering truth, celebration, community, and an invitation to join in and worship God.