‘The Art of Celebration,’ Rend Collective Experiment

Rend Collective’s new album “The Art of Celebration” incorporates simplicity, sentimentality and joy.



Parker Munson, Writer

Rend Collective Experiment released their first album, “Organic Family Hymnal” four years ago. It was their first attempt at creating what they call, “homemade worship by handmade people.” Now, this small group of five friends, all multi-instrumentalists from Northern Ireland, have delivered their breed of stripped-down, no-frills worship music worldwide. On St. Patricks Day, the band released their fourth studio album, “The Art of Celebration.”


Since their formation, the band has toured with notable Christian contemporary music acts such as Chris Tomlin, Tenth Avenue North and MercyMe — which is certainly something to celebrate. However, they’re not the type to boast, at least not in themselves. Their last album, “Campfire,” set out to rekindle the Kumbaya spirit — literally, they sing “Kumbaya” — of church camp fellowship, assisted with a free resource pack to help you build your own backyard community of believers.

The theme of “The Art of Celebration” is clearly laid out for us on the first track, “Joy,” which is sort of like a big-kid version of the popular children’s Sunday school jingle, reminding us that approaching God in worship with childlike wonder is a good thing. Each song is measured and makes sure to hit the theologically sound mark before veering off into complete sentimentality.


If you were to guess who Rend Collective’s biggest influence might be, you’d probably land somewhere in the Mumford & Sons camp before you even ventured into Stephen Curtis Chapman territory. The same folky instruments they’ve used before are here again. We’ve got banjos, ukuleles and mandolins galore. However, the production of “The Art of Celebration” is definitely a step above their past albums. They make full use of reverby, echoing gang vocals, and when they say they want to make singalong songs, they are not kidding.

Rend Collective’s take on worship music has been somewhat of a drink of fresh water to a genre that’s been otherwise muddied up with gaudy showmanship and contrived atmospherics. Instead of making much ado about nothing, the band seeks to keep the music minimal so that the Lord will be maximal. And that is something to celebrate. 

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