Indie Focus: Run River North’s ‘Drinking From A Salt Pond’ is a potential classic

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Run River North is a band I’ve been aware of for a little while. I saw the music video they recorded in their cars and their performance on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live‘, but I never really got into their music. Then I saw that ‘Drinking From A Salt Pond‘ released in February, and the album was the first time I’ve given the band a hard listen. Now I’m just sad that I missed their music for so long.

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‘Drinking From A Salt Pond’ starts with “Intro (Funeral) Parade”, and that only gives you a taste of what’s to come. It’s still a fully realized song on its own merit, and it does introduce Run River North’s mix of folk and rock, but get to “29” and you’ll probably be hooked.

I confess that I’m not much of a lyrics person for the majority of the music I listen to, as I look at the vocals being more of another instrument that adds to a song. “29”, however, made me pay attention because there are so many great hooks throughout the song. The choral backing vocals makes the song feel so large, and even with the ensemble of instruments, each one is still audible and has a place.

On “Run Or Hide”, Run River North have written one of the best songs I’ve heard this year. I think that stems from both the vocals and how they strain on the verses, as well as the amazing instrumentals that jump from high to low so quickly. The result is a collision of emotions that happens so fast that it’s rather overwhelming.

It’s hard not to talk about each song, but the variety of songs on the album is incredible. I’ve read stories about the difficulty of recording the second album, and that tension actually appears to have resulted in an amazing release that will become a classic.

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In the end, ‘Drinking From A Salt Pond’ will likely be under-appreciated among “bigger” rock and indie bands. That’s disappointing, because vocalist Alex Hwang sounds like a mix between Manchester Orchestra‘s Andy Hull and Modest Mouse‘s Isaac Brock, and Run River North’s instrumentals have a very unique sound with the mix of everything from violin to keyboards to bass. That combination has created ten excellent songs on the album, and Run River North’s tremendous talent definitely shined bright on ‘Drinking From A Salt Pond’.

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