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Riverblind - Hour of the Wolf Album Review

06 Aug 2010 // A review by River Tucker

Founded in jazz standards the first song Mute Signals works its way into slow blues melodies with sweet soaring vocals and guitars that pluck at your heartstrings to evaporate any bad mood that the winter weather might have you under. With the dynamic range of Jeff Buckley but retaining the kiwi accent there's a real bard like feel to Dave Kempton's vocal delivery. Vibrant and sometimes introspective the poetic lyrics are unpretentious and backed up nicely by a well-versed band of talented musicians.

Hailing from Wellington the three-piece known as Riverblind was initially formed in 2005 and with a line up change to new drummer Stefan Sarten started touring New Zealand in 2008 with material from their first self-released five-track EP entitled Mind Estate, which received favorable reviews. Hour of the Wolf is their first full-length CD and was mastered by Mike Gibson and recorded by Richard Shirley at Joe Callwood's home studio. There's no discernible loss of quality by not utilizing a large studio in the production process with the packaging likewise professional.

The jazz influence continues throughout at times breaking into experimental rock and funk like progressions no more apparent than in the second song Cheshire Cat. By the third track I'm ready for something a bit different and that's exactly what I get with what is essentially a love song entitled Unsettled Scenes. There's really something special about this song... nice energetic offbeat polyrhythms and David Simpson Becks bass chords at times hold the verses down which gives Dave's vocals room to implore you to engage in the heartfelt music. Percussion, backing vocals and string accompaniment help broaden the sound and give scope and dimension to the explorative music. In my opinion this is the strongest track on the CD and my favourite; not just because it has a darker undertow hidden beneath its glistening waters but because of the overall excellent dynamic range, structure and performances, which are simply superlative!

Hour of the Wolf has an uplifting all enveloping energy that held me enthralled and captivated right to the end. At times there's a well executed freeform looseness that one would expect from jazz concepts, this peers nicely with the poetic nature of the lyrics and interesting song structures. Unexpected endings and climactic metal edged rock progressions with passages of unsettling dissonance take you on a roller coaster of a musical journey, which I found to be both thrilling and enjoyable. The eight tracks experiment with diverse musical ideas to create a wonderful montage well worth checking out, although the avant-garde nature of the music might be a bit inaccessible to the average punter. However for those who want to broaden their perspectives, Hour of the Wolf is a must have CD for your collection.

Hour Of The Wolf
View Track Listing

About Riverblind

Based in Wellington and formed late 2005, Riverblind is a band intent on pushing the boundaries of their art and providing the audience with a sense of awe and wonder.

The quartet play an eclectic form of rock infused with jazz that has been called "dark, aching and intelligent" - wellingtonlivemusic.com, and the group was touted as "the most mind-blowingly original act we’ve ever played with" by Made In China. NZ Musician Magazine called their first recording "a darkly beautiful beast, dynamic and well thought out" made by a group who "sound formidable" and were "definitely a band to follow up on".

Riverblind released their first full-length album 'Hour Of The Wolf' to local Wellington fans on August 15th 2009 at the Tugboat On The Bay. Its official international release is set for early September of the same year.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Riverblind


Hour Of The Wolf
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Mind Estate
Year: 2007
Type: EP

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