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Review | Rivers – ‘Of Dusk’ (Album)

Based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Rivers are an Indie-folk band whose latest album ‘Of Dusk’ links the natural landscape, forests and lush open spaces of the American Midwest to the East-Coast and the bustling skyscrapers of Boston, Massachusetts from each location the album was recorded.

Produced and fronted by Dexter Wolfe, the album, recorded between Aug 2012 and Feb 2014 introduces a range of gifted musicians who have ensured a step in the right direction for the band who look to explore and announce their music on the Midwestern folk scene.

Having met with Dexter himself, he has expressed a desire to move to the city of Minneapolis where his family are, with the intention of furthering his musical endeavours.

‘Of Dusk’ resembles many popular British folk artists including Laura Marling, Dry the River and Ben Howard, but it is the variety of sounds coming from the upright bass, guitars and string section that signify this band’s music and give them a distinctive commercial appeal.

The music is interesting as it explores different directions as ‘Even if’  drives the album along, echoing the psychedelic vocals of Temples and moving at a pace reflecting that of downtown Boston, with the electric guitars and throbbing bass resembling car horns and engines.

‘Saudade’ draws the album back to Eau-Claire with its dreamlike simplicity and raw natural quality, the suspended, dimensional chords marrying well with the distant drums and the cello, which expands with the Beirut-esque horn section.

‘Deluge’ pulls the music from the depths of Chippewa Valley River with a collection of intervals driven by the plucked upright bass, then suddenly transforming and turning us back to the chaos of the city with the entry of the electric guitars.

The signifying song within the album would be ‘America’, the lyrics are interesting, ‘America, you’re full of promise only when away’, perhaps reflecting Dexter’s trip to Spain, acknowledging the desire to travel and yet missing his home whilst away or ‘cast off to sea’, though there is the trace of a lost love in the song as well as hope, as the latter major dimensions of the song suggest.

The album is a hidden gem within the American Indie-folk scene and will enable listeners to widen their scope and truly appreciate up and coming artists both stateside and from the UK, who hone their traditions and life experiences in the stories that they tell through music.

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