With little previous exposure to Rend Collective Experiment, I knew the opportunity to review their latest release Campfire – Worship & Community Reimagined would be eye-opening. As a person with no affinity for banjo, acoustic-led music, or even campfire songs for that matter, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

The album fittingly begins with a short, solo rendition of “Kumbaya” to serve as call-to-worship to those gathered around the fire.   It establishes a mood that is both intimate and inviting – one that endures even as the momentum leisurely builds into more playful and rollicking melodies.  As Campfire progresses, the listener is treated to one great arrangement after another.

From a production perspective, this release is solid and delivers on many levels – remarkable considering the album was, in fact, recorded live on Ballyholme beach around a campfire.   The approach imparts the entire recording with a rough and vibrant energy.

It’s also quite apparent that the band is having fun – the laughter, group interaction, and solo trade-offs really render this album’s appeal.  It is definitely a cut above any current “polished” release full of brickwall mastering and auto-tune.

Coupled with excellent production is Rend’s ability to harness their gifts. This band is extremely talented -instrumentally and vocally.  I enjoyed listening to the album and even found myself going back to certain tracks repeatedly to listen to the arrangements – some of which I would recommend for congregational use.

This album was a surprise win for me – even with banjo.

Disclosure of Material Connection: We received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that it would be reviewed on Frequency.fm.  A positive review is neither required nor requested.  Please reference Your Baby’s Ugly for our philosophy regarding objective criticism. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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