Prime Cuts: Grateful, We Need the Love of God, Beloved
Overall Grade: 2.5/5
Rend Collective has come a long way. Out of Northern Ireland, they dropped their debut album "Organic Family Hymnal" nearly 13 years ago. Every song on that record was an adventure: their sound was original, and the songs were unpredictable. Their blend of Celtic music, rootsy Americana, and their signature campfire-esque pop was uniquely their own patented sound. However, after the years of successes and endless touring, the band has evolved to become like a less-exciting version of Crowder and Josh Baldwin. Gone are their unique "campfire" vibes. Rather, what you have are stadium rock songs with the occasional fiddling and banjo-licks thrown in.
"Whosoever" continues the same pop-rock trajectory. Formulating a song out of one of the most cited scripture John 3:16, "Whosoever" is as predictable as the Bible verse. Despite having an arresting opening line ("There is no audition for true love"), the song lacks distinction. "Let It Roll" is as predictable as the title. The jangly guitars and the power percussions faintly disguise the song's dearth of a melody. Granted that the church is always in need of songs that speak about the Cross, Rend Collective's "Boast in the Cross" is painful to listen to. The way they try to stretch the notes in what feels like a never-ending chorus makes you rush for the "next track" button.
This is not to say that there are no good songs on this record. Calling to mind their crowd favorite "Build Their Kingdom Here," "Gratefulness" has that a sing-along quality that may work well in congregational singing. "Plans" is noted for it's excellent use of the imagery of how God is the divine painter while we are his blank pages. If you are looking for more hymn-like material, album closer "We Need the Love of God" is a strong contender. While many of the songs are wrapped around a commercial sheen, "Beloved" is more heartfelt and intimate.
With their constant touring and travelling, one gets the impression that not much time has gone into the creation of these songs. They hover around predictable themes, and they pick the most obvious Bible verses. Maybe a hiatus and the help of newer co-writers may help re-spark the fire that once burn so uniquely and brightly for this northern Irish group.