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By The Rivers - By The Rivers

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 26 / 5 / 2013

By The Rivers - By The Rivers
Label: Kompyla Records
Format: CD


Stunning mix of reggae, ska and pop on debut album from seven-piece Leicester band, By The Rivers

By The Rivers are a seven-piece band from Leicester, who have released two previous EPs and a single. They recorded this eponymous debut album in January of 2012, but have only just released it now. For a band whose members are barely into their twenties, this is a stunning debut. The night before they released it they headlined the 02 in Leicester, and played too about a thousand punters. By The Rivers claim to be a reggae band but there is more to them and their brand of pop than that. ‘Vulture’, which is also the bird that adorns the sleeve of the album, kicks it off. It immediately grabs you by the throat with its instant summertime happiness. Unlike most bands, By The Rivers do not have an attitude. They come across as a happy group that love to spread their joy to the world through song. ‘Vulture’ is a perfect combination of pop and dub, and the best slice of that kind of magic since the Dead 60s packed up. ‘Make Your Own Road’ has a cool reggae drive to it, and reminds me of late 70’s/early 80’s bands like the Selecter, Madness and the Specials, the latter of whom By The Rivers has toured with. ‘This Love’ is another summery number which floods into your window and into your heart. Leicester is generally cold, wet and frankly horrible, but this gilded track brings out the best in the city when it does have a bit of sunshine. ‘You Got It Wrong’ is the sort of track that you should listen to on a gorgeous day at a summer festival while drinking cool beer and eating ice cream. It is truly wonderful. ‘Take Control’ is very well thought-out and paced, sounding like a film soundtrack and edgy and mysterious, before the party vibe kicks in hard with both reggae beats and some subtle brass which doesn't overflow across the rest of the track. ‘Don't Look At Me’ is as smooth as silk. ‘Hit and Run’ has a swagger of its own, the perfect song to turn a moody face to a smile. The last third of the song really shows off By The Rivers’ masterful playing and understanding of the instruments that they have mastered. ‘Rise Up’ could have been released in 1979. It is a superb mix of ska and pop, the sort of thing that the Specials did so well. ‘Run Home’ is the most reggae-based number here, a festival party piece that gets your feet to move with the spirit of the song. ‘Don't Say You Love Me?’ is very catchy, a cross between Madness-style ska and a romantic Van Morrison. ‘Rock Steady’ ends the album, and does exactly as it says in the title. By The Rivers are as strong as any of old school bands back in the day. This is a stunning album by a great band that are barely out of their teens.

Track Listing:-
1 Vulture
2 Make Your Own Road
3 This Love
4 You Got It Wrong
5 Take Control
6 Don't Look to Me
7 Hit and Run
8 Rise Up
9 Run Home
10 Don't Say You Love Me
11 Rocksteady

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