Black River Drive has clearly put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into their debut album 'Perfect Flaws'. The ten tracks are so cohesive that, as a reviewer, it was difficult pulling them to pieces. Although categorised on Myspace as Alternative Indie Rock, there isn't all that much "alternative" about the release. In fact I would firmly cement the band in Rock and metaphorically speaking that isn't a bad thing.
Overall this textbook release has a fast paced energy with variance to the slower Down By The River and Everywhere, which are both beautifully melodic in the same vein as U2. Leaning towards the classic side of rock, like The Feelers, the superbly packaged album has some very catchy tunes, particularly 15 Minutes with its excellent guitar. The appealing acoustic guitar and violin arrangements in Here Beside You perfectly enhance this love song, while floor-thumping Lipstick has shades of Cold Chisel.
Singer/songwriter Sam Browne's well-pronounced and defined voice conveys genuine emotion with an ever-popular American twang. The lyrics move through nearly every clichĂ© in contemporary music, however Sam's intonation and arrangements add rather than detract from the popular material, making it infinitely easy for audiences to sing along. Black River Drive's latest single Bullet For Your Gun has had considerable airplay and reached #1 on both The Rock's weekly countdown and the Independent Music New Zealand Top 10 Singles. Justifiably receiving NZ On Air funding 'Perfect Flaws' is currently sitting at #1 on New Zealand iTunes rock charts.
Matt Stone's chameleon like lead guitar compliments Sam's guitar style and is masterfully exact. His effects and piano are also nicely understated. Electronic interludes provide some songs with a pulled back middle eight allowing the vocals to really stand out. Subdued in the mix in a classic rock way, Rusty McNaughton's bass lines (with Dan Antunovich for tracks 5 & 6) are precise and perfectly in step with the rest of the band while Mike Tan on drums (with Chris Grant for track 5) is that rock-hard cement previously mentioned.
Primarily engineered and mixed at York Street and Roundhead Studios by Clint Murphy, Tim Palmer, Hayden Taylor and Rich Bryan, the album was produced by Chris Van de Geer and Greg Haver. Faultless mastering was done at Sterling Sound in New York.
Hard-hitting and solidly constructed 'Perfect Flaws' is just what the doctor ordered.
Black River Drive move effortlessly between razorblade rock riffs and moments of reflection. Rock and roll swagger couples with strong songwriting and a unique vocal style resulting in a band that is destined to make its mark. The band draws on influences as diverse as Nine Inch Nails, Ryan Adams, Queens of the Stone Age, Smashing Pumpkins and The Killers to create a hard hitting rock sound.
Their first single 'Everywhere' was recorded at York Street Studios in Sept 2008 with Greg Haver and Clint Murphy, with a video that is now playing on NZ music television.
The band is about to record single 2 with Greg Haver and Clint Murphy.