Rend Collective – Socially Distant Worship Club (Pt. 1) – Single

Capitol Christian Music Group

Release Date: August 7th 2020

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Rend Collective– Socially Distant Worship Club (Pt. 1) – Single (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. GLORIOUS DAY
  2. I CHOOSE TO WORSHIP (WORSHIP CLUB VERSION)
  3. OUR PRAYER

One of the most inspiring, encouraging, honest, vulnerable and passionate worshippers and bands I’ve heard in recent memory, Northern Irish band Rend Collective have given us a different perspective of worship, and breathed great new life into the British industry with their creative and quite out-of-the-box folk/acoustic albums, including slower tracks like “Second Chance”, “Alabaster”, “You Bled” together with celebratory and upbeat moments of adoration and praise such as “Praise Like Fireworks”, “Build Your Kingdom Here” and “Movements”. In 2015, the band, consisting of Gareth, Chris, Ali, Patrick and Steve, signed to Capitol CMG, in conjunction with the own label group Rend Family Records, and their 2015 album As Family We Go has become one of the most popular albums of their entire discography. Their inspiring hits and singles such as “You Will Never Run”, “The Joy Of The Lord”, “Every Giant Will Fall” and “One And Only” have touched and encouraged the lives of many, and their follow-up project Good News in 2018 was no different. “Rescuer (Good News)” is a celebratory, upbeat, joyous danceable mid-tempo guitar led melody that was an instant smash hit, while other standout tracks included “Counting Every Blessing”, “No Outsiders” and “Weep With Me”. We reviewed Good News here, while we also voiced our thoughts on Rend Collective’s most recent album CHOOSE TO WORSHIP, featuring the latest singles “YOUR NAME IS POWER”, “REVIVAL ANTHEM”, “REND THE HEAVENS”, “DAY OF VICTORY” and the title track. CHOOSE TO WORSHIP released this past March… thus we all weren’t expecting new Rend Collective material this soon. However COVID-19 has placed a dampener on all social activities inclusive of music artists touring for concerts. So what’s a band to do while they’re unable to tour? Well, create more music of course!

Socially Distant Worship Club (Pt. 1) is an EP of 3 songs recorded as rough demos- not as polished as their studio work however equally as passionate, resonating and engaging. Passion cover “Glorious Day” opens the track list, and is as rousing, joyous and compelling, with lead singer Chris Llewlyn relaying to us the ever true sentiment that ‘…You called my name, and I ran out of that grave, out of the darkness into Your glorious day…’; while an acoustic guitar led laid back version of “I Choose To Worship” is next- this intimate, reflective and contemplative version is probably slightly more personal, meaningful, impacting and inspiring than the studio version. And as Chris eloquently cries out that ‘…I will praise You through the fire, through the storm and through the flood, there is nothing that could ever steal my song, in the valley You are worthy, You are good when life is not, You will always and forever be my song…’, we are met with a reverent personal praise song that is certain to heal and lift our spirits in this uncertain time. The EP ends (why does it need to end?!) with the original “Our Prayer”, a piano prominent new favourite of mine, with Chris and co. loosely basing this track off The Lord’s Prayer- as we ask God to ‘…restore the mighty name of Christ the Son, let prodigals return to raise Your song, Our God, Our God has no rival, our prayer, our prayer is revival…’, also asking Him to bring His kingdom down to earth, and to move inside of us so that we can stir up a generation to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

As I have listened to this EP probably at least 5 times already, each time bringing a smile to my face; it’s clear that Rend Collective bring so much lyrical and musical creativity, injecting fun, joy and life into worship. Rend Collective’s presence in a CCM industry that could be stale in worship within a few years; is definitely more than welcome in my opinion, as the band from Northern Ireland continue to impress and encourage me to worship with abandon! A standout mini-release in this uncertain year of 2020, these three tracks are a must-listen for anyone wanting to worship God, but craves musical variety in an industry generally filled with sameness! Well done Chris, Gareth, Ali, and Patrick for reminding us that we can celebrate our Lord Jesus Christ every day, and soak in His loving embrace, walking in the promises He has for us!

3 songs to listen to: All of them!

Score: 4.5/5

RIYL: Passion, Martin Smith, Philippa Hanna, Crowder, I AM THEY

Where were you when “it” happened?

We were in the American Midwest when the news came tumbling in like an avalanche, with a fresh and terrifying update every couple of hours, and we realised that our lives were about to be upended by this pandemic.

We prematurely played the final show of what was supposed to be our first true World Tour in a state of shock and disbelief, feeling the weight of “these uncertain times” before that had become a cliche. As we debriefed our abruptly abandoned tour on the bus and tried to sift through the wreckage of disappointments and fears for a plan of action, one thing began to emerge as essential:

We had to choose to worship. Somehow. Somewhere. Right in the middle of the mess. Because if we didn’t we were going to find ourselves in a dark place – and also be revealed as hypocrites given the theme and title of our album “Choose to Worship”!

So we did what the Irish always do in a crisis. We invited our friends over for a wee cup of tea, to share a few stories, songs, belly laughs and ugly cries in our living room via Instagram live and Facebook live. Nothing fancy, just some people being raw and real, desperate for connection with God and each other. Somewhere in the region of a million people tuned in to this first “Socially Distant Worship Club”.

Our minds were absolutely blown. And the stories began to pour in from all around the globe.

Stories of how Jesus was using a barely in tune guitar and some people in their sweatpants to breathe hope and healing to the hurting and hopeless. Humbled and encouraged, we’ve kept showing up like this every week since.

For us, Socially Distant Worship Club has been a little crack of light in the darkness of the pandemic.

A reminder that worship is always possible and that the church is truly unstoppable.

It’s our attempt to capture the unique and, I’d even, say “holy” atmosphere of these “gatherings”.

This isn’t polished, perfect or pristine. (Because we aren’t any of those things – maybe you can relate?) This is just us, bringing our real selves before the real God. This is the real Rend Collective.

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