When people think of depressing music, nine times out of ten, they’ll bring up the Smiths as the quintessential positive vibe killer of rock n’ roll. In reality, they ought to point to a group from the Netherlands that goes by the name Downriver Dead Men Go. The band originates from the town of Leiden in South Holland and started live as the side project of an existing Dutch alternative rock band called Caitlin.
Since the late 2000s, the group has been playing gigs around their home country and in 2014, they began work on their debut album Tides which was released in early June of this year. Upon listening to this album, a wide range of thoughts and emotions come across to the listener. Downriver Dead Men Go obviously intended for the album to take someone on a melancholic musical journey.
That’s noticeable starting on the second track of the album “Walking Away” a break up song with a spacey, otherworldly guitar solo that sounds like David Gilmour could’ve played it. One way to describe the music of Downriver Dead Men Go is by imagining the deep pit of depression that Kurt Cobain before he committed suicide.
As much as their music makes you think you want to slit your wrists, Downriver Dead Men Go also works as the perfect soundtrack for people to, as Timothy Leary would say, Tune in, Turn On and Drop Out. “The Dying of Light” is psychedelic instrumental track with a piano and synthesizer, along with animal sounds, making it perfect for a BBC nature documentary narrated by David Attenborough.
The title track of this album is a bit of a cross between grunge and emo music ending with an eerie spoken word line from the Book of Revelations. Two more bone chilling songs on this record include “Undertow,” which ends with the sounds of a gothic church choir and “The Ghost of Caitlin,” a track that sounds perfect for the background of a horror movie while at the same time referencing Downriver Dead Men Go’s old band name.
It would be very easy for me or anyone else to sum up this record by simply saying it sounds like someone put “The Wall” era Pink Floyd and depression in a blender and out came this album. However, upon listening to Tides you’ll notice it’s a bit more complicated than that. Put it this way. If you want to make out with your significant other or have some music going at a party, don’t put this record on. If, however, you want expand your mental horizons while simultaneously going through a range of melancholy and anxiety, maybe Tides is a good place for you to start.
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