Riverside

Taste

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Riverside's Taste is the album the group's label thought nobody wanted to hear. Originally scheduled for release in 1994, Taste was shelved by Sire Records, and the band distributed it themselves via the Internet as a six-track cassette. Considering that Sire dominated the market on new wave guitar pop acts during the '80s, the label's indifference to Taste is baffling. Perhaps alternative radio's shift from British post-punk to grunge in the '90s helped with their decision. Unlike Riverside's 1992 debut LP, One, the group actually acknowledges the existence of grunge on Taste, namely in the feedback-drenched title track and the sudden bursts of fuzz on "Marvel" and "Indiana." However, the album never gets too loud; the band walks a tightrope between updating their sound and keeping their '80s stylings intact. Riverside's songs are often soaked in dreamy riffs; telling each track apart on One isn't easy, but the group shows more versatility here. The spiraling guitars in "Marvel" and the downbeat, New Order-esque basslines in "Low Down" are complemented with keener hooks than the band was capable of on One. It takes a few spins for Taste to kick in; its beauty is too subtle to fully absorb on first listen. "I will rescue you with my music strings," Keith Kochanowicz sings on "Indiana," a heartfelt promise sadly unheard because of changing tastes.

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