Riviera - Capital
Wearing your influences on your sleeve can be a bad thing. I can think of countless bands that have been influenced by all or one of, The Stones, Neil Young and The Band who have come off sounding like some glorified tribute act. What separates a good, maybe even a great band, from the dross is their ability to spin and twist their influences into something new and fresh. Riviera is a band that fall into that category. Sure, they may sound like the Stones or Wilco or even Primal Scream in places, but they manage to mix their influences with such aplomb and confidence that it sounds fresh and engaging.
Picking up where 2005's At The End of The Century, Capital finds Riviera continuing their journey through the American dream, finding equal measures of hostility and love, openness and paranoia, all messily thrown together in the expansive country of the USA. Their sound has developed over the last twelve months too, the record sounds more cohesive and focused, the songs feel fully realised and bristling with things to say. Their sound still flirts with Country and Americana but they've definitely stepped up the more Rock 'n Roll elements this time around.
Snails is a good ole fashioned stomp, all chugging guitars and drawled vocals lightly flourished with keyboards and delicate riffs that seem to rush through the air. In contrast to The Weathermen which comes across like The Byrds, with its delicate vocal harmonies and chiming guitars. Proof that they aren't a one trick pony, Dreams is a delicate acoustic song that gently floats around the guitars and vocals, the lyrics warning against too much day dreaming: "It feels like summer but don't trust your dreams". Stand out track, for me at least, is Square Peg which gently builds to a crescendo of guitars and drums which brings to mind the Stones at their 70's best complete with a piercing guitar solo which British bands seem afraid to execute.
As the refrain of "You got heart, you got soul" from Square Peg echoes in my mind, I can't help but think that it describes the album perfectly. It feels as though it was loved and nurtured whilst it was written. This is a record which my have a faint whiff of nostalgia about it, but is firmly rooted in the here and now and dealing with living in the 21st Century.