Genre: Worship, Electronica, Synthpop

Enjoy this electronic track from synthpop/worship group Waken’s debut EP ‘Endless Light’.

Photography by Dillon McIntosh:

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Genre: Indie, Pop, Worship, Electronica

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.

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

Photography by Fré Sonneveld:

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Rend Collective - The Art Of Celebration - 4 StarsWith 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.

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Genre: Gospel, Singer-Songwriter, Rhythm & Blues, Pop.

Member of the Deeper Well Collective, Liz Vice released her first solo album earlier this week. Drawing on the influence of 60/70s gospel and R&B as well as a head nod or two to contemporary singers like Adele & Duffy, Liz Vice beautifully combines the old & the new on this record.

Empty me out / Fill me with You
Lord there is nothing / I can give to You
I lay down my life / Here at Your feet
You give me life / So completely

I died with You / Was buried with You
The moment I believed
I rose with You / Ascended with You
Into the Heavenlies
Lord, it’s not me / It’s You inside of me
Jesus, You are all / These eyes can see
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Mississippi trio, Seeker & Servant, recently finished the recording process for their debut album, ‘Into Your Love, I Go’; and here at The Good Christian Music Blog we’re excited to announce that we will be hosting an exclusive stream of the album the week leading up to the record’s release date of January the 7th. For those of you with bad maths/calendar skills, that means that from the 31st of December you’ll be able to listen to ‘Into Your Love, I Go’ in it’s entirety! Also the guys from Seeker & Servant have kindly given us a couple CD’s plus a Vinyl to giveaway for free (but there’ll be more details about that nearer the release).

So far, Seeker & Servant have teased their fans with just one release, one remix and one acoustic video but since then the band have gone through a couple changes. This started with the addition of Kody Gautier, which then lead to an evolution in the band’s sound that sees them embracing electronic music production whilst building on their foundation of folk acoustic-pop. Whilst we wait to hear the end result, Seeker & Servant have left us with a short ‘making of’ documentary that explains their intention with the record whilst also teasing us with a few clips from the album.

Until the exclusive album stream on New Year’s Eve rolls around, you can pre-order the record from Seeker & Servant’s store:

Genre: Worship, Electronica, Pop

Having never truly connected very well to modern worship music, when Jeff first started writing his own worship he knew that the style would be very important. However, it wasn’t until he let his love of 80s synth pop influence his music that his songs really reached their full potential. Taken from his ‘Closer EP’, Forever The Same is a song of God’s love and the Holy Spirit.

Carry us inside of Your hands
Wash away the sin in our hearts now
Make a new beginning in us
Change us from the inside out

(Pre Chorus)
Oh, heavy it is heavy

The thickness of Your spirit it is heavy
But Your burden is light
Yeah, Your burden is light

You alone are worthy God

I will glorify Your name
And Your love will never change
You forever are the same
You forever are the same

Build me up with power and love
Let water overflow in my cup now
I can smell the scent in the air
That is how i know You are near now

Photography by Qingguang Han

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Genre: Worship, Pop, Electronica, Indie

Forming the worship band for Isla Vista Church, IVW strive to produce worship that comes not from church culture or secular culture but from the Creator Himself. Besides a solo release from singer Mac Montgomery and a live album, this track ‘Move’ is the first single the team has released off their forthcoming debut album currently in the works. Taking elements of electronica and pop music amongst other genres, IVW have produced a real catchy anthem with ‘Move’, that only adds to the current trend of artists breaking free from the constraints of that all too familiar sound of contemporary worship music to help spread the gospel even further.

To hear more about IVW’s vision check out their promo video below.

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