River City Extension is an exciting and enjoyable band. They have the upbeat pleasure of Coldplay with the indie charm of many of the hottest folk bands out today. In short, they are a rose amongst many thorns in the current music climate. The blend of great harmonies, driving melodies, and horns (ok horns!) makes for a pleasant sound that will leave listeners wanting more.
What makes the album so good is its variety. At times sounding positively “pop” and other times deeply influenced by country, yet none of it “pop country.” That logical loop will keep you scratching your head, but the minute you listen to this album you’ll get it. The sound is a medley. Enjoy it.
The opening track “Glastonbury” sets the tone (pun intended) for the album, focusing on percussion and strings. Initially sounding like a predictable indie folk rock song, the melody takes flight with an impressive energy. As the song crescendos the song seems to grow more and more appealing. It’s just really good.
“Welcome to Pittsburgh” sounds decidedly not like the city of Pittsburgh. Featuring well-blended horns and an exciting beat, the track sounds more like the sunshine of the west than any gray-sky Pittsburgh day. They do, however, sound a bit (perhaps purposefully) like Pittsburgh band The Takeover UK. That said, it is a great song with a party vibe. Seriously, it ends with castanets. It’s that cool.
“The Fall and the Need to be Free” is a solo piece featuring a simple bass line and a clear lead vocal. It’s an intriguing piece that is both introspective and encouraging. “If I put you back together would you never felt the need to move.” It’s a breakup song, but in the best way possible. It’s about when you need a friend when you are so far down you get blind drunk. It sounds like a corny country song, but it’s extremely well done. It’s probably the best song on the album.
The drum-heavy “Ballad of Oregon” puts listeners in the mind of classic indie rock. It’s the kind of jam that will have you clicking “replay” over and over. The harmonies are solid, the mix is perfect, and the song is just a delight. It’s another contender for best song on the album for completely different reasons. If you listen carefully, there are obvious nods toward traditional country chording, but with an orchestral instrumentation at times. It’s that mix of styles that gives River City Extension their incredibly unique sound.
It strikes us that this would be a phenomenal band to hear live. While most of the bands we review are amazing musicians, there’s something truly spectacular in the instrumentation here. We highly recommend that our readers, especially fans of indie rock, check out this album and hear it out. While the songs cover a wide variety of styles, there’s a wonderful mix of good music on this album.