Taken from lovely current album Set ‘em Wild, Set ‘em Free, ‘River’ is rather more joyous than one would expect from a group of Young God alumni. It’s the kind of thing one might compare to The Flaming Lips, if only Wayne Coyne’s travelling circus had released anything decent this decade. Opening with a more organic take on that wonderfully sinister Massive Attack ‘Angel’ beat – albeit with some shaker thing going on – ‘River’ builds fantastically.
The singer has that super-American nasality to his voice, not unlike your man from They Might Be Giants, though perhaps a tad warmer. This tune is thankfully less wacky than, well, pretty much anything by TMBG (although ‘Birdhouse in Your Soul’ is forever a pop classic), with gorgeously busy arrangement. In fact, when ‘River’ does kick in, the vocal melody does recall the playfully innocent, heartening, verses of ‘Birdhouse…’
The words don’t seem to make too much sense, but they sound nice when placed in close proximity to each other, which is really all you could ask for from this sort of band. The whole shebang has that great-outdoors party feel that we associate with Animal Collective in the oh-nine. But where the Maryland sometime-quartet bring the neo-Beta Band synth-shine, this is organic as fuck. The good kind of organic, like Alasdair Roberts or Earth. Not the bad kind, like Newton Faulkner or Dent May. Just get the album, as this isn’t even the best song on it. And I don’t even have much time for Americana.