Rend Collective Experiment released its fourth album, The Art of Celebration, just before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a very appropriate date for a band from Northern Ireland, and fans who’ve been waiting for this one will not be disappointed.

The 13 tracks on this album are:

  1. Joy
  2. Burn Like a Star
  3. My Lighthouse
  4. More Than Conquerors
  5. All That I Am
  6. Immeasurably More
  7. Finally Free
  8. Create in Me
  9. Strength of My Heart
  10. Simplicity
  11. Boldly I Approach (The Art of Celebration)
  12. My Lighthouse (Live)
  13. Joy (Remix)

Songs of Worship Praise, and Joy

“My Lighthouse” was released early and, as you might expect, it compares God to a lighthouse that leads us away from danger and keeps us on the right course. It reassures us that “in my doubts, in my failures, You won’t walk out. Your great love will lead me through, You are the peace in my troubled sea.” Those words are profound, but the song itself is upbeat and fun.

Of course, that trend is apparent, right from the album’s first track, “Joy.” From the name, you’d expect a light tone, and you won’t be disappointed when you hear it. Yes, the lyrics can get a bit redundant, but it’s all in the service of getting the joyful message across. The album also includes a remix version of this song as a fitting finale.

Amazing Acoustic Guitar

“Joy” is a great showcase for the acoustic guitar that Rend Collective Experiment uses so effectively throughout the album. It’s also there in “Burn Like a Star,” which melds in drums and percussion to bring this track power. That’s fitting, since its message centers on how Christians can burn like a star to help the love of Christ shine on everyone they meet, with the admonishment, “send us out in resurrection power.”

“More Than Conquerors” is musically quite interesting, especially right at the start. You might think you’re about ready to do-si-do at a square dance when you hear the opening notes, but it morphs into another powerful track that reassures us that we’re conquerors when we have God on our side. “All That I Am” is another song where the title instantly reveals its meaning. It will make you clap your hands and stomp your feel as you embrace this reminder that when you surrender yourself to Christ, He accepts you as you are and you become all that you can be.

Chris Tomlin’s Influence

When you listen to the next track, “Immeasurably More,” it might just remind you of the wonderful worship songs of Chris Tomlin. That’s no surprise since he’s the co-writer along with Rend Collective Experiment, and his influence is very apparent. The stirring lyrics are full of praise like “there’s nothing greater than Your love. There’s nothing sweeter on this earth. You are more than we can imagine.” “Finally Free” is a musically interesting track for the way in which it blends acoustic and electric guitars. Don’t worry, the words and message are strong enough to shine through the music. Indeed, it’s the fundamental message of Christianity: “You paid the price now I am, finally free.”

“Create in Me” invites Jesus to be the artist on the canvas of your life, making “…a work of art. Create in me a miracle, something real and something beautiful.” “Strength of My Heart” is a heartfelt reminder that God is there when we’re down, and that He’s always ready to act as our strength.

Creativity and Contrasts

The last two songs before the live version of “My Lighthouse” and the “Joy” remix are an interesting contrast. “Simplicity” is all about the humbleness that Jesus modeled and the importance of keeping our thoughts and actions simple and sincere. Then comes the album’s namesake, “Boldly I Approach,” which is all about approaching God’s throne in a bold and celebratory fashion. You can’t help but feel uplifted with lyrics like, “boldly I approach Your throne, blameless now I’m running home, by Your blood I come, welcomed as Your own, into the arms of Majesty.”

You can’t help but feel uplifted by the time you come to the end of this album. Rend Collective Experiment has a talent for sharing the Spirit, and it’s just as apparent in The Art of Celebration as in their previous work.

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