The first single release from their debut album finds emergent Leicester-based band By The Rivers displaying an intriguing range of musical styles. They have generally been labelled folk/reggae but that doesn’t quite capture it. The lead track, ‘Don’t Say You Love Me’, suggests in its opening bars that we might be in for something at the twee end of the MOR spectrum, but happily it evolves quickly into a driving ska treatment of its upbeat melody, slowing later from ska to reggae and back, evoking the feel of the 2 Tone sound – perhaps not surprising for a new band that supported the Specials on tour last year. ‘Vulture’ is a heavier sound indeed, its ponderous remix charting a course through something that conjures up a bass-driven reggae sound and hints at, but never quite delivers, a hip-hop voice over the top. This interesting release concludes with a nice little acoustic take on their single ‘One Word’, which is altogether a far lighter reggae strumalong than the preceding tracks. Eat yer hearts out Mumford lads.
By the Rivers: Don’t Say You Love Me; Kompyla Records; release 1 October 2012.