river whyless c

River Whyless
Roll Call Records

Occasionally Challenging Grown Up and Joined Up album.

We receive a silly amount of new music to review every week, here at RMHQ, with some labels and PR companies knowing our likes and dislikes better than others; so when this disc arrived from a trusted source we knew it would more than likely suit our palette.
That said, the first couple of listens brought bemused looks from both Mrs Magpie and myself, as it didn’t seem to suit any particular style of music we would associate with that PR Company.
But; here we are a week later and I have ‘finally got it’ and now love the multi-layered approach to each and every song, culminating in a fascinating album.
So, back to the beginning and track #1 All of My Friends; a complex mixture of deep harmonies, a crystal clear female vocal and a sup-Pet Shop Boys electronic backing track. Think Dolores O’Riordan fronting Barenaked Ladies and you will be on the right track.
The electronica format continues through Born in The Right Country but now it’s another of the three lead vocalists in River Whyless singing; and he has a very interesting vocal style; part young Dylan and part a dead pan Josh Rouse on this sub-political poetic  creation.
An early contender for Favourite Track status was track #4 Van Dyke Brown; a delightfully grown up Pop Song, as is The Feeling of Freedom and these were the catalyst for the penny finally dropping as they sound a lot like they could have been two great lost Paul Simon songs from the Graceland sessions; and with that in mind all previous preconceptions went out of the window and I just let the music takeover.
Like a musical jigsaw each individual song is completely different from what precedes or follows it; but don’t worry though it all comes together quite brilliantly by the end.
War Is Kind is another left turn, with its’ warm Folky undertones that mask some very biting lyrics then River Whyless straight off follows it with Halli delving head first into the Alt. Rock and Modern Gothic composition Another Shitty Party which perfectly juxtaposes that previous song and morphs seamlessly into the more uptempo Darkness In Mind which comes up next.
Choosing a Favourite Track has been incredibly difficult here; not because I don’t like what I hear; far from it but this album should be heard as a complete ‘piece’ but for your listening pleasure I will go for Motel 6, which made me think of the period when Leonard Cohen was at his most misunderstood circa Field Commander.
River Whyless aren’t for everyone and KINDNESS, A REBEL isn’t an ‘easy listen’ at all; in fact it’s quite challenging at times and deliberately so; just like those two Cohen and Simon albums were on their release.
All I ask is that you give this Grown Up and joined up album a chance; plenty out there will grow to like it a whole lot.

CD Release July 13th 2018
Digital Release June 8th 2018.



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