Homemade Worship Music [Campfire – Album Review]

In a world overflowing with processed products, there are still a few musicians left willing to hand make quality music worthy to praise our Lord.

In November 2012, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend Tenth Avenue North’s Struggle Tour in San Antonio opening with Audrey Assad and Rend Collective Experiment. I’ll address the first two in a different post.

The Irish musicians known as Rend Collective Experiment has become one of my new favorite bands over the last year . I had not heard much about them until last fall, but their approach really caught my attention. Like many new collectives seeking a deeper authenticity, there is more than one lead singer to keep the focus on the art rather than the individuals.

First impressions from the group can come off as quirky with their hodgepodge of instruments and eclectic visual style. Looking past that, their music becomes a beautiful transcendental experience. Their art can be described as raw and authentic.


CampfireThe Campfire album, released January 2013,  is a collection of alternative versions from the Organic Family Hymnal and Homemade Worship by Handmade People albums. The biggest difference is that album is all folk style. It certainly has the authentic feel of being homemade while keeping full production quality from professional studio equipment.

The style of this album comes off more as live recordings from a night of praise and worship. Like I mentioned in my review of A Creation Liturgy by Gungor, that does not always fit everyone’s taste. For some, It can be considered distracting, while others see it as just part of the “homemade” flavor. I personally enjoy the folk sound, but I have to admit that the background singers hold me back from letting these songs lead me into prayer. Although, it is fun to listen to it really loud in the car if you want to feel like you’re partying at a campfire with friends.

I think the cover of the album sums up this album the best. Friends getting together to have fun in community and praise the Lord.

Since this album is a combination of the first albums, I want to share some thoughts on those too.

Organic Family Hymnal

Rend-Collective-Experiment-OrganicFamilyHymnalThis is my favorite album from the the group. The music in this collection was their first major release that really helped define their sound and character. One of my favorite elements is the way they take familiar parts of hymns to combine them with new music for a refreshed approach.

I highly recommend the songs “I Exalt You.” and “Love Divine.” Rend Collective Experiment takes these classic concepts and breathes new life to modernize old hymns.

Homemade Worship by Handmade People

Even though they did add more production and “processing” in this album, the music is still very in line with their mission.

HandmadeWorshipThe lyrics are great in their first album, but they found a way to take it to the next level in this collection. These songs are intentional and focused directly to our Lord. As obvious as that sounds, many bands today can easily get caught up singing about how great we are rather than how amazing our God and His love are to us.

My favorite songs in this album are “Desert Soul” and “Alabaster,” although every song has something to love. Below are my favorite lines in the whole album.

I’m lost without Your creative spark in me
Recreate me.
I’m dead inside unless your resurrection sings.

You are exactly what we need.
All that I am is dry bones without you lord,

A desert soul

I am broken, but running
toward you God, you made me whole.

Desert Soul

As a Catholic, I have to confess that there are some flawed theological concepts in a few songs, but fortunately it’s never any of the main themes. They call us all to the same Lord, and remind us of our daily call to convert our hearts to God’s love.

Their music quality rivals that of Mumford & Sons, but the most impressive quality of this group is their deep passion for Jesus. I highly recommend their first two albums to you, but I would suggest that you listen to some samples of the Campfire album before you download or buy it just to see if it is something you enjoy.

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