Chris J. Smith and M. Smith are two brothers who started a project called Rivers. Taking some time away from their band Earthman they decided to experiment and see what happened. The result is Forest Fires, which is just over ten-minutes long.
This release certainly does feel experimental but I think there are some styles that the band should follow in the future. The second half of the EP is much stronger than the first but more on that later.
The opener “Emily” feels like less of a proper song and more like an intro. The song is just over a minute long and minimal. It’s sparse, revolving around a couple of instruments and you hear the band counting off in the background. Not sure if this was intentional or not but I thought it took away from the music. The song is an introduction to a pleasant, pretty riff that doesn't go anywhere.
The next track “Winter Theme (Earthman Cover)” is an example of a song trying to meld to many different ideas. Imagine if you took Jamie Lidell, a comical cosmic play and mixed it with that guy who raps in Linkin Park. The music itself is pretty slick and the song starts off promising on the verse. Once the bridge comes I wasn’t sure what to think. I couldn't tell if they were trying to be funny or serious. The lyrics, “Everything in this world is made up of matter / Those different matters behave amongst each other” are delivered hyperbolically and spoken. It’s something you just need to hear.
The last two songs really feel like a completely different band. “Daydream (feat. Lynley Evans)” is a good song all around - the music, the vocals and the production. I heard some banjo in there, which got me excited. The vibe is relaxed and serene. Definitely a song that works bumming out on a beach.
The next song “North” might be better than “Daydream (feat. Lynley Evans).” It’s a simple song revolving around vocal harmonies. My only complaint is the female vocals should have been about 2 - 3 dbs louder in the mix.
Rivers said that Forest Fires was an experiment. If that's the case the last two songs in my opinion should be the foundation in which they build upon. The acoustic, tranquil vibe seemed to work best for them and felt effortless. I’m expecting to hear more from the duo in the not too distant future.
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