10 Aug 2022
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Blue River Baby - Single/Video Review: Pay

20 Jul 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

Blue River Baby, AKA BRBB, are back with the first single from their second album, which will be due out next year. They created quite a stir with their debut release in 2019, hitting the Top Ten on the Official NZ Music charts as well as topping the NZ Indie (IMNZ) charts. They are based around the vocals of Ree Thomson and the 70’s funk keyboards of Cam Crawford, with the line-up completed by Leith Hazlitt-Black (drums), Matt Fitzpatrick (guitar), Henry Smithers (bass), and John Gualter (saxophone) while on this track they were also joined by trumpet player Barrett Hocking of The Black Seeds.

They state they are influenced by old school soul-funk and rock masters and modern-day heroes such as Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals, Beyonce, Tower of Power, Greg Phillinganes, Bakrithi Kumalo, Bruno Mars, Kora, Florence and the Machine, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Sharon Jones, Parliament / Funkadelics, Amy Winehouse, Hendrix and Red Hot Chili Peppers, although it must be said I cannot heard much Hendrix in this (although check out their YouTube video of them jamming on Led Zep which shows a very different side of the band altogether).

This song is one of progression, starting with delicate bass, percussion and keyboards, and loads of space around the vocals, which are pure and clean. It is here that one can really hear the Amy Winehouse influence, yet as the song progresses with more brass and energy coming in there is a more soulful, almost blues element when Ree drops her voice lower. She can be pure and clean, or full of sass and vigour, and the accompaniment is designed to keep it always front and centre, even allowing for her to have the odd bar with no support whatsoever. This is music aimed at commercial radio, and the light funk pop soul mix is sure to find them a great many fans in that field.

The production is incredibly polished, but although the electric piano and keyboards are somewhat muted, the vocals are always allowed to shine. The video is a mix mostly of the band recording in the studio, plus some dramatic landscape shots, but the concept just does not work for me as I am not interested in seeing the back of Ree’s head for a large part of it. In fact, very few shots of the musicians are face on, which is a very strange idea indeed, and for me the song stands better on its own.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Blue River Baby

Formed in 2016 Blue River Baby 'B.R.B' are busy recording new music for their second album with the first singles releasing mid 2021. This highly productive Poneke / Valley 6-piece funk dub & soul collective brims with fresh new talent and amazing lead vocals from Ree Thomson.

The bands self-titled debut album was recorded with Dr. Lee Prebble who has been instrumental in projects from L.A.B. and The Black Seeds. Released 2019 B.R.B's first album hit #1 on the NZ Indie (IMNZ) Top 20 Album Chart and #8 on the Official NZ Music Top 20 Album Chart, and held three weeks in both charts in the company iconic acts like L.A.B., Six60, BENEE, Drax Project, Troy Kingi, Katchafire & Aldous Harding.

B.R.B received a bunch of ongoing commercial and student radio play around NZ 2019 and into 2020. In March 2020 they re-entered the (IMNZ) Top 20 Album Chart at #12.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Blue River Baby

Releases

Blue River Baby
Year: 2019
Type: Album

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