The Art of Celebration
It seems significant that the Christian worship combo Rend Collective have dropped “Experiment” from their name. But if the group have clearly found their focus, their fourth album, The Art of Celebration, also shows that they've retained their freewheeling exuberance. Past comparisons with secular folk groups like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers still hold true here—tracks like “Burn Like a Star,” “My Lighthouse," and “Immeasurably More” are fueled by vigorous acoustic guitar and mandolin strums that invite handclaps and footstomps. Singer Chris Llewellyn dives into the tunes with a palpable gusto that’s almost impossible to resist. Also crucial is Gareth Gilkeson’s drum work, adding a thumping Celtic beat to “Joy” and a stirring martial tempo to “More Than Conquerors.” Lyrically, Rend Collectice lace their ecstatic hosannas with quieter insights, heard most clearly in softer tunes like “Simplicity” and “Boldly I Approach (The Art Of Celebration).” “Finally Free” stands out for its vivid poetic imagery, while “Strength of My Heart” takes a more mainstream pop/rock tack with winning results.