Rick Andrade aka The Riverbank recently released his complete DIY album entitled Separate Tables. It’s hard not to have a little more bias when you hear that the artist played all instruments, wrote all the songs and recorded it himself. Overall, the songs are relatively straightforward pop/rock that revolve around a standard formation of guitar, bass and drums. The majority of the songs are well written if predictable with no surprises.
I enjoyed this album and thought he had a decent voice. That being said the one issue that Andrade faced was that he could not could stay in key when he was singing. There is no disputing the fact he is noticeably off-key quite often and you don’t need golden ears to spot it. It might be hard to hear but truth be told if Andrade can’t figure out how to stay in key when he sings he will probably want to start working with a singer. The music itself was enjoyable. He doesn’t display any technical wizardry but does show time and time again he can write a pop song with infectious melodies and transitions.
The album starts off with “Disappear In The Fog” which was a highlight. He coats his vocals in a lot of reverb, which gives the music a shoegaze vibe. The music is mellow and I especially enjoyed the guitar parts. Next up is “Life Through A Window.” It’s well written and although his vocal performance isn’t perfect it's one of the better ones on the album.
Some of the songs feel a bit indistinct and general such as “The Hopeless Few.” “All The World Is A Stage” sounds similar to “Here comes the Sun” by The Beatles during the verse. Even a riff that sounds like that song sounds good.
There are a couple of highlights such as “The First Day You Leave Here” and “Leave You Behind” as the album progresses. The album comes to a close with “Everybody Knows” and “Findaway” both of which sounded like they didn’t belong with the rest of the songs. Ironically, “Everybody Knows” is the best song on the album and contains the best vocal performance. It’s an atmospheric, electronic beat led song. I encourage Andrade to continue to explore this style. The closer is a stripped back song entitled “Findaway” which revolves around vocals and guitar.
Andrade is a talent and Separate Tables does have a number of inspired moments but he needs to work on staying in key when he sings so the songs reach their potential.
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