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ROGUE SOUNDS: The River South

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riversouthOn The River South’s website, the band says that people tell them they sound like Van Morrison, to which they reportedly say, “actually we sound like The River South.”

Despite that canned answer, Van Morrison is definitely an influence you can hear in the band’s recently released self-titled debut EP. It’s there mostly in the gravelly moan of Krister Axel, who also handles guitar and keys for the group, and writes most of its songs. But it’s there in the simple and straightforward mid-tempo groove of the songs as well.

But there’s another act that The River South EP sounds far closer to: Counting Crows. And the brass tacks are that there’s two kinds of people in the world: those that like Counting Crows, and those that would like to see their heads mounted on a spear outside venues as a warning to any potential imitators. This reporter is definitely in the latter camp. Though this reporter will also fully admit that based on their bazillions of record sales, and the omnipresence of “Mr. Jones,” at karaoke nights, he is tragically in the minority.

But regardless, it’s there on the EP. The mid-tempo folk-rock hybrids, with lightly-gritty front vocals and smooth, backups for balance. The limp-wristed attempts to get funky. The general overall dad-rock vibe. It’s smooth, and polished, and thoroughly gutless.

“There’s a weightless heart inside of you,” the band sings on the collection’s opener, in a total misunderstanding of what it means to have the blues.

“I have so much love for you inside my heart,” the band later sings, revealing a profound misunderstanding just how heavy love is.

The one sentence review is that the entire EP is nice white person music perfectly suited for booming harvest fest/winery tour/farmer’s market scene.

But again: take this all with a grain of salt, as this is just one critic waving his age and genre bias flag like his life depends on it—which he often feels it does. And if you’re on #TeamAdamDuritz, then The River South is probably your jam. And if that’s the case, the fourth track, “Catch Your Fall,” is gonna be your jam with peanut butter. It’s the most consistently engaging, and least repetitive of the tracks, which use a lot of repeating lyrical phrase motifs, mostly about what’s in their hearts and its relative weight. I recommend wearing a polo shirt and sipping a nice pinot gris for maximum effect. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be wearing a burlap sack and drinking whisky under the bridge with the new Death Grips album playing on a boombox.

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