Riverside

One

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Riverside's One is one of the prettiest albums of the early ‘90s. Considering that it was released during the peak of the grunge revolution, its lack of commercial success was inevitable. There is no screaming nor feedback-drenched guitars on One; the members of Riverside didn't sport long hair or goatees, and they probably never wore flannel. Strip away the CD's copyright date and it could easily be mistaken for a 1988 release. There's nothing wrong with that. One is suspended by shimmering guitars a la the Wild Swans and the Ocean Blue. (Since One was produced by former Ocean Blue keyboardist Steve Lau, perhaps the latter comparison should be no surprise.) Songs seem to float into one another; after a few tracks, the album begins to feel like one lengthy song. While the band seems to mine the same ethereal riffs in every track, the boyish innocence in the vocals and lyrics and the luminous beauty of the music are undeniably relaxing. The ringing guitars in "Waterfall," "General Nature," and "James" cast a hypnotic spell. The bouncy percussion of "Cinnamon Eyes" and the pulsating bass of "James" add character to Riverside's relentlessly atmospheric textures. Riverside expose their late-‘80s new wave influences so blatantly that it sounds like the group is paying homage to them; fans of the Wild Swans, the Ocean Blue, the Church, U2, Echo & the Bunnymen, and the Railway Children will be hooked.

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