Album Review - David Crowder* Band - Give Us Rest
It's big. Thirty-four tracks big. Over one hundred minutes of music big. This ain't your father's EP.
The title is big. Officially, it is Give Us Rest, or (a requiem mass in c [the happiest of all keys]). Coming from this band, none of this should be a surprise. What should also not be a surprise is that the album is absolutely brilliant.
Built around the traditional form of the missa cantata Tridentine mass - literally "sung mass" - used from the mid-sixteenth century through the mid-twentieth. Specifically, Crowder uses the form of the Requiem Mass - the mass of the dead. Thus, the piece is divided into the traditional parts like the introit, kyrie, gradual, agnus dei, etc...
Just as the catalog of the David Crowder* Band is an eclectic mixture of styles, so is their magnum opus; you'll find rock, pop/dance, neo-classical, electronica, metal, choral... even bluegrass. The beginning of the album completely draws you in... a door opening, footsteps echoing across a floor, a voice speaking softly in Latin. A piano, strings... Oh, great God, give us rest/ We're worn thin from all of this/ At the end of our hope with nothing left/ Oh, great God, give us rest. It's chilling and welcoming at the same time, and an understandable lament from a band who has done so much to change the face of worship music over the past decade.
Throughout are woven traditional Crowder songs like the first single: "Let Me Feel You Shine," and "After All (Holy)." Then the Sequences - a collection of varying pieces of vastly differing styles, numbered instead of named, sprinkled with Latin and drifting into the almost purely instrumental - that close out disc one. Just like the mass itself, the second half opens on the offering, travels through the agnes dei (Lamb of God), the Great Amen, Communion and finally the Pie Jesu - a Latin chant which translates as "Merciful Lord Jesus, grant them, rest." Thus, we've come full circle, ending on the wonderful "Oh My God, I'm Coming Home."
As a coda, there are several tranditional-style hymns, song in a somewhat bluegrass style, but sounding very much like you might hear in a small country church in east Texas... "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms/ 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus," the original "Jesus, Lead Me to Your Healing Waters," and finally, beautifully, "Because He Lives."
The packaging of the CD is pure Crowder as well. ( I still have my Remedy swag). The insert opens up to a 9x9 perforated poster with liner notes on one side, and stylized versions of various DC*B album covers on the other which can be mixed and matched and shuffled and combined with two acetate film silhouettes - one of David and one of the "Crowder Asterisk." Check it out here.
The album art itself is a marvel of metaphor. The hummingbird is a creature that can move in any direction, yet it expends so much energy it must feed constantly. It will sleep so deeply that the only thing that can awaken it is the warm light of the sun. (Did someone say "Let Me Feel You Shine?") I wonder if that is how Crowder views himself. Scattered around the cover are various physics equations dealing with mass. (Get it, mass?) But a little physics knowledge will tell you all of these equations deal with mass at rest. This gets deep, but "mass in c" might be a roundabout reference to a time of transition.
All in all, an amazing piece of work and a fitting capstone to a brilliant (and altogether short) run as one of the most innovative Christian bands out there. Get it, find a nice road to drive by yourself for a little over an hour and a half, and pop this puppy in.