River Whyless Drop Beautifully Crafted Think Piece On ‘We All the Light’ (ALBUM REVIEW)


14115481_1179883335384392_774383036141267924_oIf Karen O. hadn’t done such a bang up job with the soundtrack for the film Where the Wild Things Are, River Whyless surely would have been worthy contenders. Their sophomore album We All The Light brings to mind Maurice Sendak’s famous free-spirited wild rumpus from the triumphed children’s book. And with the earth’s full moon energy, August was certainly the perfect time to drop such a spiritual tome.

The 11-track album is aptly named, for it has been a long journey for the band to produce, having recorded material they liked over the past three years, but didn’t quite love. That being said, the album was worth the wait.

What the Asheville, N.C., foursome has emerged with is a beautifully crafted indie folk album with a global feel that seeks to unite listeners on a universal level through its complex lyrics and layered sounds. The music listens like a personal sojourn that takes a bit of rattling around in the head and coming back to; it is not an album you can just push play and hit repeat. The members of River Whyless clearly want people to dig deeper to think about how we can be decent humans and in those moments where our brothers and sisters struggle, how we can find compassion. Not easy stuff.

The opening track “Baby Brother” is quintessential of the album with captivating harmonies and lyrics such as “Well you can talk to god in the morning when you are sober, well you can talk to me, when you are all fucked up tonight/We all deserve the light.”

Incredibly, every song on the album is musically diverse; from the worldly first two tracks “Baby Brother” and “Falling Son” that have cowbells, drums, a fiddle, shakers and – an acoustic guitar that sounds like a sitar? To the stellar, prime for commercial success “Life Crisis,” which was released on an earlier EP and brilliantly, strategically placed in the middle of the album. One cannot help but swaying their hips while listening to this song, which is primal and rhythmic with its consistent heartbeat percussion, violin solo, and rich harmonizing. “Blood Moon” and “Sailing Away” explore similar compositions and themes with almost chant like lyrics and those not quite identifiable instruments (except the ever present violin and harmony, which is almost like another instrument.)

If you listen to We All The Light and don’t immediately love it, let it sit and come back to it. You may just find that you discover something new each time you listen. There is a lot there.

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