David Crowder Band - Give Us Rest

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Artist: David Crowder Band
Title: Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys])
Label: sixstepsrecords
Release Date: 1/10/2012
Reviewer: Joshua Hedlund

Tracklisting

  1. (Disc One) Requiem Aeternam Dona Eis, Domine
  2. Oh Great God, Give Us Rest
  3. Lux Aeternam Shine
  4. Come Find Me
  5. God Have Mercy (Kyrie Eleison)
  6. Why Me?
  7. Fall On Your Knees
  8. A Burial
  9. Let Me Feel You Shine
  10. Reprise #1
  11. Blessedness of Everlasting Light
  12. The Sound of Light
  13. Interlude
  14. Sequence 1
  15. Sequence 2
  16. Sequence 3
  17. Sequence 4
  18. Sequence 5
  19. Sequence 6
  20. Sequence 7
  21. (Disc Two) Reprise #2
  22. Oh My God
  23. I Am a Seed
  24. After All (Holy)
  25. The Great Amen
  26. There Is a Sound
  27. Oh, Great Love of God
  28. Our Communion
  29. Sometimes
  30. A Return
  31. Oh, My God I’m Coming Home
  32. Leaning On the Everlasting Arms / ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus (Medley)
  33. Jesus, Lead Me to Your Healing Waters
  34. Because He Lives

EPIC.

It’s a word that has become so overused, and so diluted to describe almost anything that’s “really cool,” that I hesitate to use it at all anymore. But if there are musical releases deserving of the adjective, the latest and greatest and final album from the David Crowder Band is surely a worthy candidate.

Consider the title: Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]). Consider the length: two discs, thirty-four tracks, one hundred minutes and forty-six seconds. It has plenty of electronic loops and layers, but this is far from the dance party we experienced in Church Music. It has bluegrass renditions of classic hymns we haven’t seen since A Collision. It has acoustic guitar riff action we haven’t heard since Illuminate. It’s got banjo grooves borrowed from Mumford & Sons, and dynamic instrumental sequences spanning Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Explosions in the Sky. It delivers its theme – a plea for rest – and reprises it throughout the album as it explores a journey that ends by coming home. Pretentious? Maybe. But full of fun and joy and worship? Definitely.

I don’t want to say too much; the track listing is long enough already, and I don’t want to give too much away, either. (I’m also not very qualified to discuss the liturgical framework.) It’s an experience you’ll have to discover for yourself. Crowder has a way with music that tricks me into liking catchy worship anthems that I might consider clichéd from someone else. He alone is holy / He alone most high / To God be the glory / To God be the glory / Spirit / Father / Jesus Christ! The layers are deep and deliberately crafted, with more to discover with each listen. There are more background vocals singing with Crowder than we’re used to hearing, and there are a couple spots that remind me of Gungor (a musician who may be ready to pick up the creative worship mantle Crowder is laying down).

Crowder’s prolific lyrics are as diverse as the music. Between the stadium-sized declarations of God’s holiness you’ll find stripped-down pleas for mercy. It’s not all vertical worship either; one highlight is the bluegrass folk jam “I Am A Seed”: I’ve been pushed down into the ground / But I will rise up a tree. The classic numbers at the end exude peace with their confident declarations of God’s faithfulness. (Is there anyone else out there who has covered both Sufjan Stevens and Bill Gaither?)

Overall: David Crowder and his bandmates have been defining worship music for more than a decade, and they went all out for their last hurrah. There’s something for everyone in this double-disc opus, from corporate worship anthems to personal prayers to instrumental jams spanning a wide range of dynamics. From the opening chimes to the closing hymns, it’s almost too much, and you probably won’t want to listen to all of it all the time, but you’ll definitely want to explore it all year long.