I hope you’ve all had a chance to read Erik Heter’s excellent review of the new RIVERSIDE album. From the listens I’ve had of it, LOVE, FEAR, AND THE TIME MACHINE lives up to everything any fan of the band would want and desire.
I agree with Erik’s assessment—as I almost always do! I have to say, though, that I hope Riverside brings all of its music together.
Let me try to explain.
One of the things I loved most about the first three albums of Riverside is how well they tied together. By design, Riverside wrote and produced their first three albums to delve deeply into the soul and mind. One is never sure if the protagonist of the three albums is insane or trapped in a purgatorial world. Either way, the emotional flow is nothing short of astounding. Everything works perfectly on these three albums, and each member of the band is truly a member of a friendship of artists, a meaningful part of a whole.
The live album, REALITY DREAM, is one of the finest concerts ever recorded. Even the name of the show reveals how much mystery exists in the topic. The words flow like poetry.
When ADHD came out, I fell in love with it immediately. It has a much harder edge to it, of course. In my mind, I saw a huge project.
- Chapter 1: Out of Myself; Second Life Syndrome; and REM.
- Interlude: Lunatic Soul I
- Chapter 2: ADHD
- Interlude: Lunatic Soul II
The problem, of course, is that the following Riverside releases, SHRINE and LFTM, don’t fit the plan! [Queue Geddy Lee’s voice]
Ok, so it’s my plan. But, still. . . .
I think Riverside is one of the best of the best. By simply writing great albums, though, they diminish the chances of achieving rock immortality. They’ve traded the extraordinary for the good. Let’s hope they come back to a grand plan and, thus, achieve something divine.
It’s not enough to pump out great albums. A truly extraordinary band demands a vision of the whole, not merely particulars of the moment.