Rend Family Records
Release Date: January 29th 2016
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Open Hands
- His Name
- Wild Heart
‘…in the presence of Jesus, things have to change. Before the Creator of the Universe, old ways of thinking are confronted with new paradigms. Rugged routine is replaced with fresh perspective. Depression lifts its eyes to hope. Hate transfigures into love. These are the vital signs of drawing near to the real Jesus…’ Urban Rescue, the second band, aside from Rend Collective, to be signed to the newly created Rend Family Records, releases their new EP Wild Heart on Friday 29th January, and while I may not have heard anything about the band up until their latest single “Kaleidoscope”, the band nevertheless has an enthusiastic passion clearly evident in their singing. Think of Hawk Nelson meets Hillsong meets Rend Collective meets Tenth Avenue North…and then you’d get something similar to what Urban Rescue sounds like. Knowing absolutely nothing about a band before you listen to them isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s something fresh and different and invigorating, rather than listening to your favourite artist and often being disappointed because of cliché lyrics and production that sounds seemingly average. Yet Urban Rescue, from hearing “Kaleidoscope”, is anything but a cookie-cutter worship band. This is a group who is passionate about what they believe, fusing together electronics with a heart of bringing people back to what they once were supposed to be doing- giving glory to the King.
The first radio single from the album, “Kaleidoscope” is as catchy as it is emotive and poignant. With a light electric guitar introduction and a synth keyboard that brings with it huge Hillsong Young and Free vibes, the song is a powerful and timely reminder of how God’s love to us is as powerful, impactful and life-affirming as a kaleidoscope is to anyone looking through the lens to look at quite possibly one of the most beautiful set of patterns ever to be constructed. Kaleidoscopes are a mystery- they are beautiful and are made from just the simplest of materials. God’s love to us ought to be as simple yet equally impacting. Allowing God’s love be our kaleidoscope to us is a declaration of us being open to the wonder and awe that comes from when we let God in and He rearranges our lives and our perception, both of who He is and who we are at a certain moment. A song that encourages us with all these aforementioned points and more, Urban Rescue have given us a song almost certain to be on WOW Hits 2017- I’d be perplexed if it is left off this year’s compilation. Well done Urban Rescue for such an emotive track, and one of my favourite songs of 2016 so far!
Throughout the rest of the EP, Urban Rescue give us great reminders of God’s love for us, enriching the listeners with a lyrical journey full of hope, encouragement and fervent praise as this band is as equally passionate and enthusiastic as their label mate Rend Collective themselves. “Recreate”, the first track, speaks about us longing for God to recreate us and change what He needs to change from deep within, while the music of the song is a collision of worship and dance music (music that won’t necessarily be out of place in a club). Vocally reminding myself of Mike Donehey of Tenth Avenue North, the band passionately declare for us to be recreated, as we hopefully embrace the change that comes when we submit fully to the will of Christ. “Open Hands” brings to us Citizens and Saints vibes as the band speak about the theme of surrender and opening our hands to whatever God has in store for us to undertake and accomplish, and while only a tad over three minutes, the band convey quite possibly one of the most heartfelt and poignant melodies on this EP.
With light electronic keyboards in “Open Hands” that bring me back to the music of the 1980s, the band continue to relay to us themes needing of us to consider, with “His Name” being the sole worshipful ballad full of keyboard prominence and a message of declaring the name of Jesus in our situations; while “Wild Heart” enters with hand claps and ‘woahs’ to infuse together musical undertones that echo Hillsong Young and Free, Capital Kings and Rend Collective, all the while encouraging us to travel ‘…into the great unknown, no matter where you go, we’ll follow You, we’ll follow You, we’re after Your wild heart, we want to be where You are, we’ll follow You, we’ll follow You…’ A great end to an EP full of musical experimentation and a heart firmly grounded in vertical worship, Urban Rescue have created one of the most fun-filled and catchy songs on the EP.
‘…most of us are afraid of change because it threatens our own personal economy. Drawing near to Jesus is scary. If we were to actually allow Jesus any closer, He might want to shake things up and rearrange our hopes and dreams. But that kind of fear is not from God, because at the centre of God’s heart is love, and we know there’s nothing to be afraid of in love…’ Sobering stuff, from quite possibly one of my favourite new artists I’ve heard since Zealand Worship and Lauren Daigle last year. With songs that bring in both lovers of dance music, CCM and worship music alike. A great way to end January 2016 with powerful and emotive music, Urban Rescue is a must listen if you enjoy artists like Hillsong Young and Free, Rend Collective or Tenth Avenue North. Kudos to the band for the first EP on Rend Family Records. Can’t wait to hear more whenever the next collection of new material arises.
3 songs to listen to: Open Hands, Wild Heart, Kaleidoscope
RIYL: Rend Collective, Dan Bremnes, Tenth Avenue North, Hillsong Young and Free, Hawk Nelson