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JFH Music Review

Rend Collective, As Family We Go

Rend Collective
As Family We Go

Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Worship / Alternative
Album length: 11 tracks: 43 minutes, 14 seconds
Street Date: August 21, 2015


Only a year and change after The Art of Celebration, Northern Ireland based worship/folk/rock/pop/electronic band Rend Collective is back with As Family We Go. While a short turnaround for a new album is a pleasant surprise (not to mention their stellar Christmas album), the end result is a little uneven. While this is still the band we know and love, the songs are less memorable this time around and a few tracks lack their signature sound. Though As Family We Go does not display the band at the top of their game, they still foster beautiful and exciting musical environments to praise God for both personal and corporate settings.

Paving the way for As Family We Go, lead single "You Will Never Run" is a catchy song about God's promise to never leave us. It's one of the most radio-ready songs on the album, but with a slick guitar riff and ridiculously singable lyrics, it's a cut above the grade for the pop-worship genre. But it's when the band experiments with their frenzied sound that the band really shines. Such songs include "Celebrate," "Free As A Bird," and "The Artist," which are all infectiously cheerful and loaded with a wide variety of instruments crafted into intriguing layers and textures. Granted, there isn't anything quite as extraordinary as "Build Your Kingdom Here" or "Burn Like A Star," but they are each strong in their own right.

When Rend Collective steps away from their worship party anthems, the results are a mixed bag. "One and Only" and "Never Walk Alone" are pleasant to listen to and vertically focused, but otherwise unremarkable and a minute longer than necessary. Similarly, the mid-tempo "Every Giant Will Fall" feels like a run-of-the-mill pop-worship song. But not all of these less energetic tracks are underwhelming. "Your Royal Blood" is a creative re-imagining of the famous hymn "Nothing But The Blood," featuring a bluesy electric guitar lick, a Hammond organ, and a chorus where lead singer Chris Llewellyn powerfully proclaims "Your blood will never lose its power." "Just A Glimpse" continues with a similar attitude of exploration with epic electronic undertones and passionately sung lyrics which crave a taste of God's infinite goodness.

The deluxe edition offers some decent remixes, but the two b-sides are the most notable additions. Complete with bagpipes, "Ireland's Call" is a fun tune of Irish pride while "You Never Weigh Me Down" is one of Rend Collective's slowest and most contemplative songs to date. "Ireland's Call" was right to be excluded from the regular edition, not because of inferior quality, but because of its thematic differences from the rest of the tracks. "You Never Weigh Me Down," however, would have been a beautiful replacement for one of the aforementioned weaker songs.

Few bands combine positivity with authenticity the way Rend Collective does. As Family We Go may not be their best effort, but it is still a valiant one. Fans will find a lot to love here, but if you haven't jumped on the Rend Collective bandwagon yet, start with The Art of Celebration or Campfire.

- Review date: 8/6/15, written by Christopher Smith of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

Rend Collective debuted a few years ago and made a very big impression on listeners. Their organic sound and raw lyrics were a breath of fresh air in a genre that was being overwhelmed with polish and superficial words. That being said, the band's latest release, As Family We Go, is nothing like their previous releases - and that can be both good and bad.

Songs like "Celebrate," "You Will Never Run" and "Joy of the Lord" are somewhat reminiscent of the band's Irish roots, yet the sound is extremely cleaned up. That rugged and raw sound that won listeners over is washed away. While all of these songs are easy to sing-along to and are extremely usable for Sunday morning church gatherings, that warm Celtic charm seems to be missing. Furthermore, "Your Royal Blood," a loose adaptation of "Nothing but the Blood" is considerably awkward. While it is completely original sounding, it feels like a B-side.

"Just A Glimpse" is truly the standout track from the album as it really showcases a new sound that seems to match the band. Using soft synths and tight percussion with layered gang vocals and a dash of 80's pop, it's a solid track. "Coming Home" echoes this same sound, and lyrically they are magnificent as they long to be with the Lord.

Strangely, while the album has all of the makings of an excellent release, it feels like a step in an odd direction. As Family We Go is more or less an album listeners have already heard by many other CCM artists, but with dashes of Irish influence. Devoted fans may love this album or find it to be a sleeper; nevertheless, Rend Collective proves with each release that they are a real deal band who takes their art very seriously and it is birthed out of a love for the church. - Review date: 8/16/15, written by Ryan Barbee of


JFH Staff's Additional 2 Cents

    The rise of Rend Collective has been both welcome and entertaining, as there is probably no other artist that makes worship music who approach it with as much obvious joy. In the band's fourth studio album, As Family We Go, that joy reaches an all-time high. The three consecutive opening tracks of "Celebrate," "Free As A Bird" and "You Will Never Run" nearly blow my mind every time I hear them; they are so infectious, singable, danceable, and in every other way enjoyable. Unfortunately, nothing kills that momentum like a fairly standard worship anthem, which is what "Every Giant Will Fall" does unapologetically. From there, the record is very reminiscent of my own personal mixed feelings from The Art Of Celebration, with a couple of solid hits ("Never Walk Alone," "The Artist") and an unfortunate miss ("Your Royal Blood" is an ambitious rendition of "Nothing But The Blood," but contains an unnecessary chorus and is overall fairly awkward), while most of the rest is fairly forgettable. But much of this album is Rend Collective at the very pinnacle of their game, so one can forgive the rather uneven listen to an extent. - 8/20/15, Mark Rice of

    The Irish folk/pop collective - Rend Collective that is - has been on quite a roll. Yearly releases and increasing popularity have led to a highly-anticipated album in As Family We Go. The eleven tracks (sixteen if you get the deluxe edition) are full of energy and spirit as the band worships the God of the universe. A couple of the songs feel like they were written specifically for a kids' camp, like the opener "Celebrate" and the standard edition's closer "The Artist," and they do come off a little cheesy-sounding... but also kind of fun. I do like the hook of "The Artist," though: "You make all things bright and beautiful, wild and colorful, You make our lives bright and beautiful, wild and colorful, You are the artist." There are also gems to be found in "Every Giant Will Fall," "Just A Glimpse," and "Coming Home." If you're considering purchasing a copy of As Family We Go, I'd recommend going with the deluxe edition, because the Celtic "Ireland's Call" is a fantastic addition, as is the ukelele version of "Every Giant Will Fall." This is a good album to add to your already existing Rend Collective collection--as well as a good remedy for the soul in need of some encouragement. - 8/20/15, Scott Fryberger of



. Record Label: Rend Family Records/Capitol/Sparrow
. Album length: 11 tracks: 43 minutes, 14 seconds / 16 tracks: 62 minutes, 34 seconds
. Street Date: August 21, 2015
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: iTunes (Deluxe Edition)
. Buy It: AmazonMP3
. Buy It: AmazonMP3 (Deluxe Edition)

  1. Celebrate (3:03)
  2. Free As A Bird (3:23)
  3. You Will Never Run (3:16)
  4. Every Giant Will Fall (3:46)
  5. One And Only (4:39)
  6. Joy Of The Lord (3:47)
  7. Never Walk Alone (4:59)
  8. Your Royal Blood (4:52)
  9. Just A Glimpse (4:56)
  10. Coming Home (2:36)
  11. The Artist (4:03)
  12. Ireland's Call (Deluxe Edition) (3:11)
  13. You Will Never Run - Neon Feather Remix (Deluxe Edition) (3:20)
  14. One And Only - Urban Rescue Remix (Deluxe Edition) (4:28)
  15. Never Weigh Me Down (Deluxe Edition) (4:12)
  16. Every Giant Will Fall - Ukulele Version (Deluxe Edition) (4:10)
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