River City Extension

Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger

Written by: TL on 18/08/2012 15:54:26

Is it just me or was folk and country music not some of the most uncool music to listen to when we (who are born in the late 80's) were growing up? No? Tell me, has the music scene been pulling a full 180 lately, or is it just because we're growing older that we are starting to notice all these indie/folk/alt/country bands popping up, and with them the notion that their style of music is actually quite hip? Whatever the case, here's a review of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger", the second LP from New Jersey octet (that's an eight piece - wow, not often we see some of those) River City Extension, who are of course not to be confused with promising punk rockers River City.

Rather the band, which is formed around main man Joe Michelini, bring an eclectic offering of modern indie/country, naturally soaked in the Americana of their home country. The sound is mainly made up of a semi-acoustic rock arrangements, to which horns, banjos, strings and such make appearances on various occasions to coat the soundscape with further nuances. It's hard not to draw comparison to genre cornerstones like My Morning Jacket, or to Conor Oberst and some of his mellower material both on his own and with Bright Eyes.

At fourteen tracks "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger" is a rather lengthy album, and while it starts out with a number of songs on a decent level, for a long while it does feel more like the kind of record that make you go an absent minded "mmm" rather than an ear opening "woow!". The songs, while immersing the listener in a textured, enjoyable mood, do not have enough flair or hooks to stand out. That's initially, because towards the middle and beyond, things start to look a bit better. The gradual layering of "The Fall And The Need To Be Free" works quite well, as does both verse and chorus in the up-beat "Down, Down, Down". This couple is followed immediately by my own personal favourite from the album "The Ballad Of Oregon", which has a vibe to it that reminds you of a steam train climbing up snow tipped mountains, building sort of like Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising".

Those three numbers seems to me like the heart of an album that does eventually also give the listener a good, noisy time in the hell raising "There And Back Again", yet I must admit that the remaining material lands in the "decent" not the "great" category for me. River City Extension offer a good, lasting listen here, but they can do more to separate themselves sonically from their peers, just as I think they can do more to make their songs separate themselves from each other. Till they do so, they'll appear as they probably are - catching up to bands like My Morning Jacket - so if you're looking for this kind of stuff, I'd suggest looking in their direction first, and then maybe to River City Extension next if you're still curious for more.

Download: The Fall And The Need To Be Free; There & Back Again; Down, Down, Down; Ballad Of Oregon
For The Fans Of: My Morning Jacket, All Get Out, Bright Eyes, Delta Spirit
Listen: facebook.com/rivercityextension

Release Date 05.06.2012
XOXO Records

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