"On the Come Down" by River of the DogReview
I must admit to being a little low when I woke up this morning. Partly due perhaps to a personal event from yesterday & partly due to national news you'll not want reminding of.
I hope you'll be glad to hear that this has since been significantly offset by hearing some really top music from Coventry & Warwickshire artists: the more so since although both sets were projects I was fully aware of being recorded, I wasn't expecting to hear either just yet. So big, pleasant surprises.
One lot I'm afraid you'll have to wait a week to hear my review of. Although I delight in hearing previews of splendid music & yearn for you to share my joy, I also understand that many artists have clear concepts of how they wish to handle promotion of new material: it'll be a nice surprise for you next Saturday.
The second, perhaps even more surprising (given that I think the production process was swifter than even its creator anticipated) revelation was being able to hear the debut single by brand new band River of the Dog, namely "On The Come Down" which is released on the 29th of February. I'm privileged to be what I imagine will be their debut reviewer.
If you read my last review of Brass Hip Flask, you'll be aware that sadly, at a moment when that excellent band are doing so well, founder, writer & multi-instrumentalist Callum Mckissock is having to draw aside from most participation apart from recording their album & the subsequent launch gig, for health reasons.
As much as this will have disappointed their large number of fans, this does not mean that his talents are lost to us, just that he has had to adjust & create his music via a means which does not commit him to the large amount of live playing which the success of BHF demands.
This route has emerged as being River of the Dog & on this first release which he wrote, produced, sang on & played rhythm guitar, bass & drums, he is joined on lead guitar by his old friend Alex Eardley-Scott.
"On The Come Down" doesn't entirely depart the Brass Hip Flask love of the blues, though it would be fair to say that they are filtered through a heavy duty rock approach (Callum aims to explore a wide range of styles of rock in the project). Doom laden, swampy even, the music matches the lyrical preoccupation (sorrow, hard roads, pills etc) effectively: since the latter are delivered through layers of processing, we certainly get the full effect of a hangover or something very similar to one. Proceeding at a relentless though not necessarily fast rate, thunderously intense instruments (all played as well & as tastefully as you'd expect) bounce off each other like bodies in a mosh pit while the superb lead guitar cuts through in a more rapier style. You won't necessarily choose this one for your chill out playlists, nor perhaps even to psych yourself up for a night out. You might not even select it to cheer yourself up when down. But if you compile a mixtape of powerful medicine songs, this should appear on it. Providing you want something apocalyptic at any point in your day.
River of the Dog have their debut album 'Long Night' coming out in June 2020 & no doubt we can anticipate the diversity of rock styles they have planned within it.
Although as I have said, the project cannot be a frequent live phenomenon, you can catch them playing at the ‘Sent 2 Coventry' event for Coventry Riders Action Group between 17th-19th July at Barkers' Butts RUFC and for this & other similar gigs, Callum & Alex will be joined by Alycia Malta on bass guitar.