Recently, thanks to bands like The Lumineers and The Civil Wars, we’ve seen a new sub-genre of music becoming very popular. I’d call it minimalist folk, you may call it pop-folk, others might just call it folk music. One of the newest examples is The Riverside, a Calif0rnia band that uses male/female harmonies, a little mandolin, and some good old fashioned song writing. It’s difficult to not feel like this music is familiar, but it’s not played out and there’s always room for more happy, well done music in the world.
The album begins, perfectly I might add, with “Time’s Goin'”, a song that’s perfectly upbeat and has a happy sound. When the song finally hits its first crescendo, it’s best if you’ve got your windows rolled down on a sunny day. The percussion on this song is also incredible, something that’s absent for the beginning of the song but make it that much better when it finally joins the song. Paired with the first track is “Hello Sunshine”, a song about wanting the sunshine instead of cloudy days. The imagery and violin help this song achieve that atmospheric vibe the title suggests.
Perhaps my favorite opening line of the year comes from “Pennies” when the harmonies sing “If there was a secret place that we could walk to, down a path where there is no trail…” The imagery in this song is superb and the style and sound compliment the lyrics perfectly. “Drifting Soul” is a song that seems like a lost b-side of The Lumineers. It’s a song about being unsure of what to do and not knowing what coming. It’s a feeling all of us can relate to.
Ending with “Slow Down”, the album finishes up an excellent debut with a fun song that begs the listener to “hold on just a little bit longer.” It’s a debut album that shows a lot of promise and has me excited about what The Riverside have in store for us in the future.