Organic Family Hymnal
Rend Collective Experiment considers itself “a movement of friends” rather than a typical Christian rock band. This 15-member Irish aggregation fills its debut album with an unguarded spirit that offers a refreshing alternative to the slickness often found in modern worship music. Organic Family Hymnal’s emphasis on breezy harmonies and light, semi-acoustic instrumentation brings to mind such secular folk-pop acts as Belle and Sebastian and Lake. Tracks like “Movements” and “Faithful” (the latter featuring David Crowder as guest vocalist) are carried by buoyant vocal blends and propulsive rhythms. RCE adds brass accents to the reverent “You Bled” and achieves shimmering guitar textures on the expansive “Above Everything Else.” A tinge of Celtic mysticism creeps into such dreamy tracks as “Exalt” and “Love Divine.” Though most of these tracks are succinctly arranged, “Thine Be the Glory” lets RCE sprawl and surge a little. The real appeal this album lies beyond any single element; what stands out most is the collective’s sincerity and sense of mission.