Taken from his debut EP ‘The Beautiful’, the extremely talented Tyler Batts creates an impressive sound topped off beautifully with the powerful anthemic vocals on the chorus of this single ‘To The Very End’.
Currently working on their second EP set for a summer release, Indie-Electro-Pop trio Kingslynn deliver this fresh single available as a free download, check the video description for the link. Leave your thoughts below!
It’s been a busy year! Our audience has increased hugely – the YouTube channel now has over 12,000 Subscribers and total video views currently stands at 1.5 million! Amongst the growth though with some help from friends and family I’ve been in touch with more artists to bring you another free summer mixtape and here it is.
It’s not as long as last years, at just 11 tracks but I’d rather deliver a shorter mixtape of top quality music than fill it with anything I could get permission for!
Like last years mixtape I hope you are introduced to new artists through this compilation. I’ve come to know some of these artists really well whilst putting this together and by speaking to them throughout the year and I can honestly say there are some great people featured on this album who truly worship Christ with everything that they have to give. So, check out the poster that’s included and get in touch with the artists’ through Facebook and Twitter etc. and tell them how much you appreciate their music, knowing these guys most of them will probably even find the time to reply to you! (Then go download the rest of their work!)
Be encouraged by their music, share it with friends not just because you secretly hope they’ll become Christians through it but because it’s simply a collection of great music! Enjoy the diverse mix of genres, the different ways that people praise God and the different stories people have to tell.
My prayer this year is for this mixtape to spread further than before, to reach Christians throughout the world who need encouraging, Christians who wish there was great music for a great God, Christians who need a new song to sing and soundtrack to dance to.
A huge thanks to all the artists involved, for supporting the blog and the work I do and wanting to be part of this small but influential mixtape.
And finally thanks to you the listener for the continued support to both the blog and the artists we feature, whether it’s simply by liking a link on Facebook, sharing the blog with friends or donating money so that we can give more copies of the mixtape away. Thank you for making this possible.
Love the cheeky 80s vibe on this tune, it’s like Phil Collins meets worship music. These guys make great indie pop/worship music, be sure to check out their other stuff.
Lyrics: You have a sewn in our souls a longing deep inside To remind of a need only You can satisfy I won’t waste another day On trivial vices
Every breath is a chance To sing of Your worth Now I finally understand The reason I’m on the earth To receive and reflect the full image of our King We carry on Your name as our deepest of callings I won’t waste another day
On trivial vices I give up my whole life to say Nothing else matters Selfish motives haunted choices We cry out with broken voices Precious Jesus our great purpose You’re the center of existence
With the results of their musical ‘Experiment’ returning positive – as marked by the mass adoption of folk in to mainstream worship – Rend Collective (F.K.A. Rend Collective Experiment) have wisely decided to drop the third word from their name like many of their fans have already been doing so for many years. Along with this name change, the Northern Irish foot-stompers bring their latest musical offering to the table, titled ‘The Art Of Celebration’.
Inspired by a theological breakthrough this album is the bands response to learning and rediscovering that joy (and not seriousness) is a fruit of the spirit (Gal 5:22-23). Although their music has rarely been described as solemn and serious, this revelation is a great place to start any worship album at and as such it’s no surprise that the opener of this record is a track titled ‘Joy’.
Starting with the familiar sound of acoustic guitars and ukelele’s that bounce off the joyful lyrics, it doesn’t take long for Rend Collective to get going, quickly jumping into a mighty, upbeat chorus that sets the tone of the record. Though the music may be somewhat closer to pop than their usual folk style it’s the lyrics of the track that stand out. This isn’t just a happy sing-song that ignores grief, but is actually a complete recognition of the extremes of our emotions.
“The pain will not define us/Joy will reignite us/You’re the song/Of our hearts”
Yes, Christ is our joy, and we are called to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” (Phi 4:4) but that doesn’t mean life is without pain, suffering and brokenness. Harking back to the album title, celebration is an ‘art’ to be practised, it doesn’t come by ignoring pain and just wearing a smile instead but actually comes through holding on to steadfast truth.
Though lyrically good throughout, I can’t help but feel that some tracks feel musically forced at times. The indie folk side of the band sounds great on this record but the pop influences sound less natural – the manufactured pop style may go down well with the Christian radio stations and youth conferences but Rend Collective are at their best when they sound like Rend Collective! An example of this manufactured style is the track Burn Like A Star, the lyrics are good, but musically it just doesn’t feel as natural and organic as tracks like All That I Am, Finally Free, Create In Me and Boldly I Approach (The Art Of Celebration) to name just a few.
One of the louder and triumphant songs of the album is the hugely popular worship anthem My Lighthouse. This track beautifully references the pillar of smoke and fire that leads the Israelites out of Egypt in the exodus and tries to create a similar image with the more modern imagery of a lighthouse.
“My Lighthouse/Shining in the darkness/I will follow You/My Lighthouse/I will trust the promise/you will carry me/Safe to shore”
Very singable, and very true about Jesus, the only problem being that lighthouses don’t safely guide ships to shore and in no circumstances should be followed but actually warn ships of imminent danger (Rend Collective: great musicians, but not so great sailors)! Technicalities and sarcasm aside though, it’s a great, exuberant worship song bound to find it’s way into many churches sunday setlists.
With the first four tracks of the album following a similar style to My Lighthouse, the record slows things down with the track All That I Am. At first glance it may seem like the band has lost their joyful bounce and turned to the exact thing they wanted to avoid – seriousness – however the track serves as a great reminder that joy is not always loud and ecstatic. I’ll repeat that again, joy is not always loud and ecstatic, as it becomes clear upon multiple listens that this song, although quieter and less energetic than the album openers is written out of a deep joy found only in Christ.
“Selfish ambition and my pride/I’m giving up I’m letting die/In these empty hands I have it all/The pure joy of knowing you my Lord/It’s only in surrender that I’m free”
As a result, listening to this track feels like peering into the band’s personal life and joining in an intimate, genuine, deep joyful worship session. This style of worship isn’t just limited to the chilled, acoustic tracks either as it seems to continue throughout the rest of the album, occasionally accompanied by strings in tracks like Immeasurably More and Strength Of My Heart.
The highlights of the record then occur in the songs that find the perfect balance between the quiet joy and the loud rejoicing. This is done brilliantly in the track Finally Free and again (but in a different style) in the title track Boldly I Approach (The Art Of Celebration) setting the stage for a perfect mighty finish to a strong album. However, the listener is then confronted with two seemingly out of place songs, a live version of My Lighthouse and a remix of Joy. The live track is good, but having already been released as a single in three different forms it seems overkill that it appears yet again.
Following in the recent footsteps of Hillsong United and Jesus Culture, the apparently anonymous remix of Joy then attempts to shift Rend Collective into the realm of electronica but sadly fails spectacularly by doing no more than adding drums and the occasional synth to the original. This then produces a track that’s neither indie folk pop or electronica but a strange and bland mix of both. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m personally a huge fan of electronic music (it’s no big secret that this blog was inspired by YouTube channels such as Majestic Casual) and it’s not even that Rend Collective shouldn’t be remixed at all. However, remixing is a careful craft that can produce great results but in this situation it seems no more than a gimmick.
Lacklustre remix aside, this album is a great release from everyone’s favourite indie folk worship celebration band and sees the Northern Irish Jesus lovers push themselves into a more polished and matured sound that largely remains true to their ‘Organic Family Hymnal’ days that put them on the map. Overall, The Art Of Celebration shines brightly in the vast sea called contemporary worship music and begs for these songs to be used in churches and not just kept to the confines of hipster Christian’s playlists and youth pastor’s iPods.