Give Us Rest - David Crowder Band
The band's final release
After 16 years of making music together, David Crowder Band (DCB) have called it a day with their final release Give Us Rest.
The full title of the album is Give Us Rest (a Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest Of All Keys]). A requiem mass is also known as “a mass for the dead”, and parts of the album focus on death (one short track is simply called A Burial). But there are wonderful moments of upbeat “happiest of all keys” moments too.
Fans of the band will be aware that half of DCB's albums bear some resemblance to the other half. In this case, Give Us Rest mirrors A Collision. The amount of thought that has gone into this process is remarkable. It’s not every day that a band plan the structural and theological emphasis of their next six albums!
When viewed as a whole, Give Us Rest verges on the ineffable. 34 tracks is a lot to digest, and even when you think you’ve just about grasped the musical style or meaning of a song, you’ll hear a new guitar part or clever lyric that opens up a new level of enjoyment.
The number of musical genres packed into 100 minutes is incredible. The soft piano introduction quickly crescendos into each member of the band beating their instrument for all its worth. But before you know it, the band has unleashed a haunting sound which one can only assume is monks chanting. We’re only 5 minutes into the album and I’ve already spilled 250 words.
I’ll skip to the stand out songs. These include Why Me? a short acoustic track of heartfelt praise to and dependency on Jesus. Let Me Feel You Shine is the band’s first single, it’s high energy and Crowder’s vocals are as distinctive as ever. “What I need is resurrection/What I need is for you to put me back on my feet” he sings.
The middle of the album features 7 Sequences – all based on the liturgy of a requiem mass. They feature heavy guitars, massed chanting, (in Latin, of course), strange vocal effects and violins playing over electric drums.
After an oriental inspired reprise, the band launch into their acoustic-folk, Mumford and Sons-meets-bluegrass section of the album. The banjo playing that delighted fans in I Saw The Light is back with avengeance.
This is David Crowder Band’s wackiest album to date (listen to The Great Amen if you don’t believe me), but when put in context of a requiem mass, the songs start to make sense. Something tells me there are more gems hidden in this recording than all of the other Crowder albums put together. So be prepared to get Googling if you want to understand all the subtleties.
But if reading up on Catholic masses isn’t your thing, don't fear, you will still enjoy this album. The final nine songs are particuarly good. My only complaint is that the band haven't included anything as epic as “God Almighty, None Compares” (see end of Church Music).
I’m coming up to my 11th play of Give Us Rest, yet I’m a long way off from comprehending it. If you’re a Crowder fan (and who wouldn’t be?) you can’t miss this album. And you certainly didn’t need me to tell you that, either. But if you're left scratching your head after reading about masses, bluegrass worship and monks chanting then stop reading and starting listening. David Crowder Band’s contribution to worship music has been weird but wonderful. They will be sorely missed. Let’s just hope their rest doesn’t last too long…
Rating: 10 out of 10
February 9th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes