Having established a reflective new tone with 2015's Tender Gold & Gentle Blue, London-via-Cornwall outfit Red River Dialect continue down the path of graceful understatement with Broken Stay Open Sky, their fourth album overall. The project of singer/songwriter David Morris and a steadfast group of collaborators, Red River Dialect have been performing and releasing music for over a decade, scaling up and down from solo and duo formats to the nimble sextet heard here. Picking up the narrative of its deeply introspective predecessor, Broken Stay plays like a logical sequel as Morris continues to chronicle the personal upheaval that began with the sudden death of his father and the great sea change that followed in its wake. The exquisite "waves of sad-joy" that Morris explored on Tender Gold are transposed here into tones of healing and meditative poetic reflection. While still intermingled with stabs of life's ever-present sorrow, his door is also open to joy, whimsy, and whatever opportunities the wind might deliver, especially if it involves connecting with the natural world and its inhabitants, both animal and human. Beginning with the bittersweet acoustic guitar refrains of the instrumental "Juniper," his bandmates warmly weave their way into what becomes "The View," a breezy fiddle-decorated opener whose central message reads like a mantra as Morris declares "I'm gaining confidence in the view now: The goodness of myself and others. The urge to connect and society! How? Cause I've seen the sky and also the weather." Themes of nourishment, transformation, and compassion thread through meandering and often lengthy tracks like "Kukkuripa," "Aery Thin," and "Gull Rock," the latter referring to the distant rock hulking out of the Celtic Sea's golden horizon on the album's cover. For their part, the five other members of Red River Dialect add their own distinctive voices to the conversation, swelling and jangling together in loose formation to create a musical landscape that, if photographed, might look very much like that sea-encircled rock, dark in its own solidarity among the sun-crested waves.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger