Review: Campfire II - Rend Collective

Posted by Laura White  ·  Be the first to comment

This review was written by a member of the Eden team

Campfire II

 From the very first ukulele twang, you’re there.

 Even before lead vocalist Chris Llewellyn rousingly opens with a line from ‘This Little Light of Mine’, you’re transported to woods, warmth, and a worship style that harkens to an idealised time of community faith.

Campfire II: Simplicity is the second (or, because Campfire Christmas, is it the third?) album from Rend Collective that ditches the studio for the great outdoors.

It doesn’t take long to get to the heart of of the album. As soon as Live Alive jumps into your ears it all clicks together. This is an impressive feat for a song this is only the third on the album (with Free as a Bird coming before it, as if that wasn't enough of a clue!). This is an album all about living to the fullest, about the abundant life that God gives.

Even the radically renewed cover of Hillsong’s famously meditative Oceans (Where Feet May Falls) has swapped out the sea for the river, rushing head-first into a celebration of all that is given by God.

If anything, radically new version of songs is the greatest strength of the album.

Rend Collective are so keen to have you see how different a life of simple joy is, they have removed enough familiarity to make you sit up and pay attention.

From ‘Every Giant Will Fall’’s opening bagpipes, to the old-timey piano of ‘My Lighthouse’, to ‘Joy of the Lord’’s Celtic vigour, (and even a bluesy opening to ‘Your Royal Blood’) there is no rehashing here, only new life from past songs.

For all its changes and homliness, it’s not without polish and did leave me with one blaring question: How did they manage to fit so many instruments around one campfire?

As can be expected, the album goes off with a bang. Where the first Campfire had fireworks (which aren’t quite as spectacular on a CD), Campfire II adopted the carnivalesque, New Orleans formula of Trumpets+Feet Stomping = Celebration.

With the unexpected around every musical corner, I can’t say I wasn’t pleasantly surprised and intrigued at every turn. I went in Campfire II with expectations of a series of fast Banjos and choruses of ‘Woah’ that are a much a staple of Rend Collective as their signature Irish voices. And yes, whilst those can be found throughout, there was so much more to this album than I expected, and maybe that’s what they want. For you to be able to expect so much more than you thought possible before.

7th October

October 7th, 2016 - Posted & Written by Laura White

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