Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rend Collective Experiment: Homemade Worship by Handmade People Review

Rend Collective Experiment’s debut project Organic Family Hymnal received praise from many critics and top-notch Christian music sites. Now the “collective” worship group returns with their highly anticipated follow-up Homemade Worship by Handmade People. This new set of eleven eclectic worship songs encourages the listener to lay aside their momentary problems and worship an everlasting God.

Strong 70s-sounding choirs open Homemade Worship by Handmade People in “Praise Like Fireworks,” an enjoyable fast-paced track with repetitive lyrics that make singing along a cinch. Especially a standout is the opening line, “You’ve given us a heart, given us a home in You!” Rend Collective Experiment’s cover of “Be Thou My Vision” follows, modernized by updated lyrics and re-titled “You are My Vision.” The bluegrass sound, upbeat tempo, and strong choirs make this track a highlight off the album as a whole.

“The Cost,” featuring wonderful vocals, speaks of counting the cost (“I’ve counted up the cost, and You are worth it”), after which we hear a wonderful acoustic reprise. The beautiful single “Second Chance” follows, contemplating the unbelievable mercy shown us in Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. The deep chorus is especially touching: “Oh Your cross it changes everything/ There my world begins again with You/ Oh Your cross it's where my hope restarts/ A second chance is Heaven's heart.”

With beautiful female harmonies, “True Intimacy” speaks of setting Christ as your ambition, and desiring only to know Him more, a very heartfelt and serene track. Borrowing lyrics from Matthew 6, “Build Your Kingdom” is a prayer that God would build His kingdom in the church and live through us on earth. Following, “Desert Soul” was my personal favorite off Rend Collective Experiment’s sophomore project, as the cry of desperation for more of God is very relatable and encouraging at the same time. The way it builds throughout is heavenly, and I’m sure it will be any honest listener’s top tracks off this record.

“Christ Has Set Me Free” is a simple celebration of deliverance (“Christ has set me free from negativity, from impossibility/ Christ has set me free/ All hope has been released/ O Christ has set me free”) while the slower “Keep Me Near Your Heart” is a timeless, hymn-like prayer for closeness to God. On the same heavenly note comes “Alabaster,” easy to get lost in its peacefulness. Ending the album, “Shining Star,” again upbeat, is a prayer that God, the “Shining Star” would “come and guide our hearts.”

Rend Collective Experiment is definitely original, containing heart-felt, awesome worship – some of which is upbeat and fun. The collective worship group addresses the desire for a close relationship to God in their sophomore project Homemade Worship By Handmade People, a topic very relevant and that invokes participation from the listener.  If you’re looking for an original worship project, look no further!

Rating: 4/5
Release date: January 6, 2012

1. Praise Like Fireworks
2. You are My Vision
3. The Cost
4. Second Chance
5. True Intimacy
6. Build Your Kingdom Here
7. Desert Soul
8. Christ Has Set Me Free
9. Keep Me Near
10. Alabaster
11. Shining Star

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