Okay, seriously? Rika is way better than I thought it was going to be, whatever that was. I was imagining a girl with dyed neon pink hair strumming along on songs about being lonely in a forest. Instead, this debut LP from Austria, of all places, is full of lushly orchestrated rock music that borrows a lot from the folk and emo scenes. In the official website's own coding, "broody.” A fairly apt term, especially when you consider this was nearly ten years in the making; the band began playing together in 2005 and have had plenty of time to reflect on the turbulent state of affairs for both the world and the individual. Heck, they even pick up where post-rock left off at some point to really drive the point home with some voiceless music.The music focuses on acoustic tonalities to express the band's melancholy. Vocalist Stefan has that good lonely smoker thing going on. His rasp, a desperate whisper, is at times doing the near impossible and channeling Thom Yorke successfully.
It is the perfect companion for these blackwood pieces. "See-Through" is the best example of what he and the band can do when they're in-synch. And they aren't afraid to take chances. Horns and woodwinds and some sleek studio touch-ups mean their sound is at once crisp and emotive, even if the overall mood is somber and somnambulant, and I don't mean that to invoke an image; sometimes it does seem Rika is playing just to get the song over with. I understand the time difference making them impatient, and the fact that they live in Austria, but it weakens the overall mood of the album, which shows great potential for a band that already sound like veterans. Well, even so, the album if friendly and accessible, awesome for those tired gray evenings when tomorrow promises another day, and nothing more.
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