By Aaron Calvin
There are many pitfalls for the singer/songwriter of the modern age to fall into, problems such as boring guitar strumming, static background music and melodramatic lyrics. Fortunately, Cashes Rivers suffers from none of these ailments.
Cashes Rivers' self titled debut album begins with some simple chords being strummed quietly while some contemplative lyrics are nearly whispered in accompaniment. The song builds this way for over a minute before exploding in full sound as the whisper becomes a yell and a backing band of fuzzed out guitars joins the mix. This is only the first indicator of an album that takes you by surprise multiple times.
The song "Tracks" follows the opener, showcasing the versatility of Cashes Rivers as distortion becomes jaunty indie rock that somewhat disguise the darker tone of the lyrics. This sort of mentality continues into the songs "Local Drunk" and "Atoms," which are decidedly catchier than the first two tracks, tailored for live show audience participation.
"Our Boats" keeps the status quo and, despite being one of the flatter songs on the album, it still keeps the listener engaged. "Do We Play Favorites" turns down the volume, but keeps the pace into the next catchy number, "Beep Beep." The album hits a lull again at "When It Rains," which has sonically interesting aspects, but progresses at a much slower pace than the rest of the album.
The final part holds the most interesting songs of the album. "Half Of Us" is a bit of a throw away, but leads well into "Man Made of Mud," which yet again moves in a different direction, incorporating a jazzier rhythm and a varied instrumental section. "Flowers" is pleasant enough, but pales in comparison to the final song. "Quite A Change," which employs the same technique of dynamic change that makes the opener so powerful, sets itself apart from the rest of the tracks by combining emotive vocals and the musical fortitude to back it up.
While the album is not perfect, it should be marked as a strong debut, combining strong songwriting and tasteful production. Cashes Rivers should definitely be marked as a musician to watch.