Down By The River
Posted September 06, 2014
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Despite a name that sounds borrowed from the sci-fi pages of an experimental group like Falling Up, Rivers & Robots stays sonically closer to the 'river' in their name than they do the robots. With a slight chamber effect in the laid back vocals and a soft guitar backdrop to most songs, this is an album that musically feels like summers by the sea. In fact, continuing the Falling Up comparison, it wouldn't be hard to see them doing some of these songs, at least from a musical perspective. The simplicity harkens back to some melodic memories of Midnight on Earthship.
This isn't the kind of music that goes for bombast and cinematic scope. It's the kind that feels at home looking out at a calm sea, marveling at the wonder of creation. And with lyrics that are at home in familiar vertical territory, there's a definite effective vibe of humble creatures offering worship to their creator.
Some moments aspire to rise high, such as "In The Family" with more noticeable piano, more reaching from the vocals and a more defined hook. "Perfect Love" shoots for single status with a solid guitar hook and a singable chorus. The verses also shoot for the catchy, and help round out one of the highlights. "Love Himself dwells in my soul" is a thought that is simple yet profound, making the track also impressive lyrically.
Others, like the appropriately juxtaposed "Fall Down" and "Arise," succeed in staying grounded on the shore with music that transcends simple structures to uplift and inspire. The guitars always stay to the side to let the words really sink in and remind you of just Who it is the band is singing about.
Rivers & Robots know who they have set out to become, and this album does a solid job of defining them. Their laid-back approach gets the music out of the way and draws the focus to our Savior. There's a definite humility to the whole production that gives it freshness that's often lacking in music today.
Song to Download Now:
"Perfect Love" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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