20 Aug 2015

Electric River / The Faith and Patience (album review)



London trio (Formerly 4 piece) Electric River’s debut album The Faith and Patience is the product of years of hard work, yet the 2014 release is still almost unsettlingly underground and under appreciated.

The collection of 12 songs features tracks toured around the UK for some years, as well as the singles the band had previously posted on their YouTube page such as Calling Out, Hold Your Nerve and Keep the Engine Burning. These songs have clearly been chosen as singles on merit as these provide the most enjoyable moments on the record alongside The Fixer and Chorus of Fire - a frequent closer to their short but sweet live shows.

As a guitarist myself, it would be unfair not to mention Will Whisson’s imaginative guitar playing throughout the album, drawing inspiration from Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler and Pearl Jam. His collection of melodic licks and riffs combined with clear, bright guitar tones are the basis for the band’s comparisons to the likes of The Gaslight Anthem, however they still sound fresh and offer a unique and new take on indie rock guitar, sweeping aside generic chord progressions and simple strumming patterns.  His frequent overdriven tones combined with the subtle use of a springy delay pedal enhance his complex solos and lead parts.

It would also be stupid not to mention vocalist/bassist Sponge’s powerful vocal style and solid basslines which consistently rumble beneath Whisson’s crunchy, crisp lead lines. His vocal delivery on tracks such as Cold and Leap of Faith are weighty and authoritative and pair with his punchy, defined basslines.

Alex Mayland’s drumming contributions are also compelling and present his abilities and range of dynamics, from the loud and large choruses of Chorus of Fire to the quieter sections of Watersong.

One negative side to the album in my opinion is the choice of tracklisting - the album goes from strength to strength showcasing the band’s talents for a pop/rock song for the first 7 or so tracks but fails to provide the conviction and punch for the remainder of the record, and tails off slightly nearer the finale. However, this is one of the only downsides in an otherwise phenomenal debut which has somehow failed to break through into even semi-mainstream circles, highlighting how hidden gems can so often be overlooked by the media and prestigious record labels.

The band also manages where many bands fail by having a sense of style; each member looks unmistakably cool in promo shots and the like. Their live shows are also an energetic spectacle with Whisson cranking out classic guitar shop moves and throwing himself about during his solo moments, not unlike a rabid dog, which are subject to change from night to night.

In conclusion, Electric River’s debut is a promising collection of pop rock anthems with a underlying sense of punk rock still managing to shine through. Their brand of indie offers a louder, prouder alternative to many other favourites with indie crowds right now and it’s a shame they have just over a thousand Spotify listens and less than five thousand Facebook likes. The boys have however promised a follow up record despite their limited success with the mainstream thus far. And I for one cannot wait.

8.5/10

this album is available to stream on spotify here

(written by Oscar Sault)