Updated: May 26
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow finished his poem 'To the River Charles' with the lines:
'Tis for this, thou Silent River! That my spirit leans to thee; Thou hast been a generous giver, Take this idle song from me.
We are uncertain at this point whether new Blowtorch artist The Rivers have such a close relationship with the watercourses in their native South Wales. If it's not the rivers, then certainly something has been a generous giver in the song department. One of the great pleasures of any kind of involvement with music is constantly being reminded just how much great, fresh talent there is and The Rivers have swept us away.
The 3-piece from Merthyr Tydfil come to Blowtorch with a recently released EP 'Life in General' brewing up nicely on Spotify and gigs announced for the New Year. They have a fine line in scuzzy guitar indie rock but what lifts them above other such bands is their grasp of song dynamics and most crucially their lyrics, which conjure up a wistful sense of story. And a particular time in life when everything is in front of you, an endless vista of possibilities; yet simultaneously there are also more local, mundane concerns which can limit you. This existential tension is reflected in the backing which provides congruent variations in tempo and loudness as well as one of music's great underused dynamics - the pause. Their writing puts me in mind of Going Down by the Stone Roses or Cornerstone by The Arctic Monkeys. Neither of them are greatest hits bangers but both are beautifully crafted, story-telling songs which confirmed the respective bands as more than arms aloft anthem merchants.
So what do they write about? Well, life in general really. It's all in there - trips to Wetherspoons, shared noon drinks, saving your pay to put your girl on a plane, driving to a mountain view to see the (industrial) lights. It's everyday and magical at the same time. Listen and be rewarded.