Music writing as part of the Sons Of Noel and Adrian collective must be an interesting experience. Consisting of twelve talented members, all with their own ideas and thoughts on what to write, it’s commendable that the band have managed to cram all those personalities onto just three songs, in their stop-gap follow up to last year’s self-titled debut album. Having said that, there is one overriding attitude that prevails over any other individual influences, and that is one of total melancholy.
Unlike the forefathers of this post-rock genre, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the ‘Rivers’ EP doesn’t indulge in fantastical track lengths with crescendos to force the listener along. Instead it’s a collection of three short songs that, upon first listen, have very little of interest to offer at all. Minuscule twists and turns of a violin open up ‘Black Side Of The River’, washing over with a sort of breathless sigh, before dissipating into a lone guitar. It’s a sound rich in folk indulgences, with deep vocals that roll calmly over the rest of the instruments. Furthermore, more concentrated listens reward the listener with a beautiful dedication to intricately tying various threads of instrumentation together.
The EP seems to melt into one track, the soft transitions passing by without any noticeable change of pace or atmosphere. Soft vocal harmonies float around ‘Big, Bad, Bold’ as drawn out violins hint at something catastrophic nearby, but all this disappears before tumbling drums begin to drown out the eerily calm nature of the vocals. ‘Leaving Mary’s Hand’ is the weakest track here, somewhat lacking a suitable conclusion to the brief but intriguing sense of drama on the horizon.
The EP is an exercise in whimsical fiddling, a showcase for the collective to hint at what they are capable of without really acting upon it fully. As such, it feels somewhat shallow. What it does accomplish is to leave the listener with that sensation of wanting to hear more, or perhaps more precisely, wanting to hear the band truly evoke some sensations. There are hints of it here, but nothing more, and as such it should be considered an easily digestible snippet of despondent whims.
Originally published at Sonic Dice.