LA River Bend – Run These Hills
Self Released – 2017
Before ‘Run These Hills’, California-based LA River Bend worked together on lead vocalist Nate Weiner’s solo offering, ‘River Bend’. Now they release their debut EP, a collection of sunny indie-pop hits with an impressive range of vocals, depth of sound, and interesting textures. The EP is inspired by a combination of natural imagery and life on the road, and whilst it’s a release of only five tracks, LA River Bend manage to sketch out their musical vision with verve and talent.
The band’s style and inspiration are clear to see in ‘Summer Wind’, the sweeping number that opens the album with clever use of strings and emotive lyrics. The depth of sound and complexity of harmony sets it apart from other offerings by similar bands, and the opening lyrics ‘Pushing doors to let it in/First taste of summer wind’ instantly create a sense of openness, freedom, and new possibilities.
Full band instrumentation often features an offbeat groove and compelling rhythms which, along with the cleverly worked driving harmonies, highlight the core themes of travel and exploration. These dynamic rhythms are a staple in ‘Mountain’, which creates a reflective sixties vibe with close harmonies and seamless tempo changes from drummer Jacob Seldes, sweeping you up and pulling you along as ‘the wind burns down the West Coast to the summit of the mountain’.
LA River Band are not afraid to use their vocal skills, and the whole album features free and accomplished vocals which easily encompass both tenderness and optimism. A prime example of this is ‘High Off Of You’ – a track that manages to remind me of sunny beaches and ice-cream whilst still conjuring up the cosiness of staying indoors with a lover on a rainy day. The lyrics could be clearer across the album as when they can be caught, they are very effective at creating mood, but I can forgive them that when the overall package is so well put together. ‘Don’t get Lost’ finally gives Emily Elkin a welcome chance at lead vocals, and conjures up images of “used up candles and old party clothes sitting underneath…roses that I bought you last June when I knew I loved you”.
It’s refreshing to hear a band who are so sure of what they are doing, and crucially, manage to pull it off with such confidence. “Run these Hills” is an album of soaring instrumentation and insistent rhythms, conjuring thoughts of long summers and holding hands. It’s nostalgic post-teen pop for a generation in need of a boost; a perfect dose of optimism for grey days. LA River Bend are definitely ones to watch, and like them, I’m “Feeling a good song, feeling a brand new tune”.
More here: https://www.lariverbend.com