On Repeat: River Giant
Sometimes when a record kicks you in the gut, you lose your words as if it were an actual kick. Such was the case with River Giant’s debut album, which has left me struggling for breath and words since I first saw the band live a couple months ago. I’d been passed along the record when it was first released in April of last year and it didn’t make much of an impact, but seeing them live I was gobsmacked.
If I was going to say it simply (which of course, I’m not) I’d just tell you that River Giant is my favorite local discovery in months, if not years. The Everett born and bred trio sound as if they were raised on ‘70s harmonies and early SubPop records, fed only a steady diet of The Eagles and Mudhoney. In a city saturated with dude-harmonies, the only people who come close to matching River Giant are fellow-Everett-kids, The Moondoggies. And the bands have more in common than their hometown. Lead singer Kyle Jacobson’s guitar tone and playing is similarly tuned and expressive as lead ‘Doggie Kevin Murphy’s, adding an unexpected bite to the band’s honey harmonies. But where Murphy offers a whiskey howl, Jacobson soars on a slurred falsetto.
This is my kind of band. Kids who listened and loved their parents records, while searching for their own sound, something that spoke to their generation’s bleak frustration rather than their parents blossoming idealism. And somehow River Giant have married the opposing and complimentary parts to make a sound completely their own. I’m not sure it should work as well as it does: menacingly emotive rock’n’roll, leering and lurching, tumultuous and touching … but damn if I haven’t listened to the record a hundred times already. These are songs I wake up singing. That I want to hear over and over again. That when I’ve tried to sit down and write about, I get so caught up in, I forget to type.
And they are even better live.
You can see for yourself this Saturday when River Giant headlines Chop Suey or this July, when they’ll be performing at the inaugural Timber! Fest in Carnation, WA.
Before you see them, you can take a listen for yourself. If you’re not going to listen all the way through I recommend starting with track three “I Permute this Marriage,” or track two “Pink Flamingos”, or track five “Western” or track six “Feel Like,” or jesus, just listen to the whole record.