"You The Creator" by River of the DogReview
Good news from River of the Dog who on 29th of this month are releasing a brand new single entitled "You The Creator" (hopefully you'll remember their previous release, "On The Come Down" which we reviewed for you in February last year and which also appears on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Three').
Last time out, River of the Dog comprised band founder & conceiver Callum Mckissock with the assistance of Alex Eardley-Scott on lead guitar. For this release, Callum (who provides vocals, drums, cowbell, humming, electric & acoustic guitars) is joined by Alycia Malta on bass and Stuart Mckissock on lead electric guitar. Fans of our local music scene may thus spot a clear similarity with lineups of Brass Hip Flask and it will be most interesting to see how both bands run along parallel tracks
If "On The Come Down" was a stunning debut (and it was), I doubt if they would approach a song in quite the same way under current circumstances: a chilling & acerbic song, it worked really well but it's not the sort of vibe which chimes with our pandemic experiences. "You The Creator" is not a direct COVID19 response as such (if you want that sort of thing, check out the Brass Hip Flask song "Disrespect" on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Three', though there is a little hint in the line "..a world that is frozen" in this current track), but it does offer an oblique look at the artistic process in a sympathetic yet clear eyed way. As Callum puts it, the song "…is a commentary on what artists are really making when they produce art and how that world is viewed and criticised by the artists themselves rather than seeing the beauty within it, mistakes and all." How many people we write about can this apply to? It is also worth mentioning in the context of this theme that the cover art is an original piece by Callum & Alycia.
Consequently, the song is considerably gentler in musical tone than its predecessor. Although adhering to the same skewed sonic approach & twisted processing to create a contemporary & fresh sound, the mood is gentler & contemplative: think of Pink Floyd in terms of material like "Grantchester Meadows" and then fly in elements of Callum's beloved blues and press the "2021" filter button on your console. In fact the track shimmers & shifts along its whole axis (credit to Chris Field for the mix which enhances this) & so hard is it to pin down that maybe this continually morphing style is going to emerge as the River of the Dog trademark once we have more examples to judge by.
At any rate, in a mere two releases, the band have already demonstrated admirable range. Given the interesting juxtaposition of rooting yourself in a musical traditional of considerable depth while utilising such an innovative approach to what they end up sounding like, it seems very clear that the future for this comparatively new band is very exciting.