Melody, Dawn is the fantastic new album by Carlos Rios aka Rios. I was all in after the first two songs. In fact I was pretty much on board with the opening track “To Melody” which sounded like a more hopeful and exuberant Bon Iver song.
“To Melody” is a fairly stripped back song but works wonderfully from the vocal harmonies to the guitar work. The song works so well because the incremental adjustments in the delivery make for huge sounding emotional changes.
Up next is “The Score” which reminded me a little more of The Shins. The song is infectious and so incredibly catchy. It’s one of those songs that will get stuck in your head but in this case you won’t mind it. “Circuits” is a change emotionally into something more melancholic and reflective. The lyrics are poetic and contain vivid, hyperbolic imagery. Rios sings, “I brushed her hand & they all felt it explode into the stars all I did was wave hello but who could have known how deep it was the dive we took that night except for us.”
“Someplace Else” is the type of song that will make you want to conquer the world with optimism and understanding. The song is simultaneously nostalgic and empowering. I thought his first lyrics described the song perfectly. Rios sings, “there's a time and a place where it all comes together.”
“Middlepeace” is another success that has a classic americana vibe that fell somewhere between Fleet Foxes, Simon & Garfunkel and Bon Iver while “Rosie” contains warm, beautiful sounding horns that drip with solace.
My only issue with the album was the last two songs and only because the quality was noticeably more lo-fi and really wasn’t competitive with the other songs. I think the album would have been stronger and more impactful by excluding those two songs.
Overall, this is a great album. The songwriting and delivery is some of the best I have heard this year. Don’t miss out.
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