Tony Cummings reports on the Californian "new worship band" topping the iTunes Christian Chart, URBAN RESCUE
With hundreds, no thousands, of releases flowing from the biggest CCM companies to the obscurest bedroom worshippers striving to get the attention of the international worshipping Church, it is always fascinating when a "new" artist manages the feat. That's just what California's Urban Rescue have done. Their 'Wild Heart' album has just debuted at number one on the iTunes Christian Chart quickly climbing to the number one spot in the UK as well. The band, the album and their songs are now piling up accolades. CCM magazine wrote, "If you're scanning the airwaves for this year's favourite new worship band you might call off the search, Urban Rescue is here."
In fact this "new worship band" isn't new at all. A glance at UR's discography in Cross Rhythms reveals that these skilled practitioners of EDM-flavoured worship have been releasing independent projects for quite a while - the EPs 'Urban Rescue' (2009), 'Just To Be Here' (2010), 'Wildfire' (2011) and 2015's 'Re-Imagined' together with 2011's 'Listen Empty' album built for them and ever-expanding church following. It was a friendship with Northern Ireland's Rend Collective that has been the key factor in taking Urban Rescue to the next level.
The folk rockers from Northern Ireland, committed to "redefining the landscape of musical worship", launched Rend Family Records under the auspices of CCM giant Capitol Christian music and Urban Rescue were their first signing. It was a wise and God-breathed move. The first single "Kaleidoscope" got immediate attention, Hallel's Timothy Yap calling it a "poetically worded" song. Yap wrote, "Contemporary worship has often been criticised for being a basher of poetry. And with platitudes such as 'I need you' and 'I love Jesus' proliferating in countless worship songs, such a criticism is judiciously true. Thank God, Urban Rescue eschews such cliches with 'Kaleidoscope'. The song is essentially a heartfelt prayer to God to allow us to see the chaos and sufferings through his eyes."
Yap was even more enthusiastic after the release, on 29thJanuary, of the 'Wild Heart' EP. He called the song "Recreate" "a rousing pop number that bears all the hallmarks of a future worship classic. 'Recreate' offers the revival cry of Christians for God to do a work of the Spirit across our cities."
The creative focal point of Urban Rescue is songwriter and producer Jordan Frye. This young revivalist has had his share of troubles in his life. Jordan's parents divorced when he was in high school and his mother was diagnosed with leukaemia shortly afterwards. He's been through his share of heartache too, his faith has been tested and the pain has pushed him closer towards God. There's a saying that suffering will either make you bitter or better, and the trials Jordan has been through have given him a desire to push others closer to Christ through music. He told patheos.com about 'Wild Heart's goal. "I wanted to create an album that would explore the heart of God. My first album, 'Listen Empty', was a dialogue with God about doubt, and this second album is a continuation of learning more about my Father's heart. One of the greatest things I've learned in exploring the heart of God is his relentless pursuit of his children. Jesus' promise to his followers is that life is going to be hard, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." - Matthew 16:24. Even though life is difficult, Jesus promises that he'll always be with us, and he'll never forsake us."
Jordan continued, "Remember that God is constantly in pursuit. Even if you don't feel like he's near, meditate on his care for his children. Often times God brings us into the desert in order to refocus our eyes upon him. Something I've found helpful when I don't feel God's presence is to get alone with God in a quiet place, typically in nature. It's necessary to get your heart back in tune with the heart of God. There are tangible ways that God's heart is being made known - through the Church, through his word, through the Holy Spirit. Remember that God's love is a free gift, not to be bought or sold, and you don't have to work your way back into his presence; rest in his great love for you."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.