Yours, River are a genre-blending group from Washington DC whose authenticity and sharp songwriting shine from the get-go. Founded by James Carline and Zachary Nachbar-Seckel as a side project during the height of the pandemic, the talented group has come into its own, developing a unique sound that combines folk, hip-hop, and electronic influences. Their self-titled new album Yours, River is an adventure in atmospheric, organic sounds that evoke scenes of nature and feelings of youthful longing.
Their self-titled album kicks off with the ambient “I’d Like To Be…”, a track that uses fluttering acoustic guitars and subtle, dream-like synths to create a wistful mood. Beneath, organic sounding bass glues the track together and creates a mellow groove. The instrumental creates a strong foundation for the track’s immersive vocals, as they float gracefully above the guitars. These vocals are easy-going and simultaneously heartfelt, and the lyrics on “I’d Like To Be…” are vivid and introspective, taking on a reflective tone.
They follow this track up with the groovy, hip-hop laced “Oh So Blue!” , a song that introduces their use of rapping vocals. The instrumental for “Oh So Blue!” contains deep bass that rumbles beneath fast-paced drums and brisk, electrifying guitars. The beat is energizing, creating an infectious sound that keeps the listener engaged throughout. Moreover, the track’s use of spoken word-infused rap vocals combined with blues and rock influenced singing gives it even more personality and makes one want to keep re-visiting it.
Next, the band brings in the bittersweet “Honeybee Lane”, a warm track packed with nostalgia. This song contains breezy guitars that ring out over top of rich bass and natural drums. The vocals on this song are catchy, and the lyrics are poetic and evocative, making for a thought-provoking listening experience. Paired with the next track, “Fast Asleep”, Yours, River show their dynamic approach to songwriting, as they demonstrate their ability to play with a wide variety of sounds. Here, energetic drums and tuneful bass bring the track together and provide a strong foundation for the song’s relaxed, dreamy vocals. Furthermore, the guitars on this song are starry and expansive, giving the song more of a layered feel.
The song “Patience” marks the middle of the album, utilizing dense, rapid percussion to give the track a playful feel. “Patience” feels heavily psychedelic and almost has a dance music vibe, further showcasing the band’s diversity. An album highlight is “Where Do We Go From Here?”, a peaceful, smoky song that sticks in one’s memory for days. Once again, Yours, River blends hip-hop in, providing an immersive and raw sound that appeals to a wide variety of music fans. They follow this song up with another album highlight in “Abby”, a sentimental song that uses autumnal guitars and poetic lyrics to create a truly intriguing mood.
The album closes out with a series of reflective yet groovy offerings, including “Winter Lungs”, which centers around wailing guitars and grand keys, and “Beggars Cup”, which features expansive keys and powerful lead vocals. The final song “Rest in Peace?” is particularly unforgettable, containing some of the group’s strongest lyrics. They come through with some thought-provoking lyrical motifs and imagery that draw the listener in to the song’s ruminative mood. Moreover, the track’s atmosphere is enhanced by celestial acoustic guitars and jaunty percussion, creating a stirring backdrop.
Overall, Yours, River’s self-titled album is a dream-like offering that brings back memories of childhood and evokes the feeling of being in nature. It is an introspective, creative ride through the artists’ mind, providing a release that is refreshing and intriguing. Hopefully more is soon to come from this group, as they are new to the scene and evidently have a lot to offer. All in all, their ability to craft songs utilizing a variety of genres and sonic textures is admirable, and they showcase promise in this new album.
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