2018 (Riversea Music)
“The Tide”, released in 2018, is the second album by Riversea, the collaboration between singer Marc Atkinson and keyboardist Brendan Eyre. In addition to this royal couple, bassist David Clements and drummer Alex Cromarty are also considered permanent band members in the credits and why not. There is also a whole army of guest musicians present to put the necessary cherries on the proverbial cake. These are mainly soloists such as Lee Abraham, Paul Cusick and Robin Armstrong, but there is also Olivia Sparnenn Josh who does background vocals in the opening title track. So there are a lot of things to say about the piece.
Either way, they all guarantee music that you can at least call “college emo.” “The Tide”, like “Out Of An Ancient World” (2012) is another true test of your feelings. The atmosphere this time is more subdued, less exuberant.
It actually starts with the cover art. Every time I look at Ed Unitsky’s beautiful artwork, I think: how strikingly this artist has captured the atmosphere of the music in an image. The dark blue of the cover with the milky white glow of the moon through it, fits the emotional bronze voice of Atkinson perfectly as well as the clear piano of Eyre’s mostly layered keyboard parts. The many interpretations of the guest musicians also fit seamlessly into the picture.
Riversea’s creative minds haven’t exactly been at the forefront of handing out the variation of styles. Coherence is their motto. When it comes to clear themes and self-distinguishing vocal lines, Riversea is absolutely lord and master. Every song on “The Tide” has its own face, we count twelve.
After a short but convincing guitar intro, the album starts with the title track. The piano starts and there are the vocals. Atkinson’s voice is so great. I have never heard anyone negatively about his vocals and would like to declare his qualities to be facts. Not only is it his voice, but also what he creates with it. Listen to the first minutes of Blasphemy, a song that eventually degenerates into a march-like piece with strong string accents in an almost Gothic ambiance. The languid Your Last Day is also a tasteful song with it’s nice keyboard solo. At that point, the album is well underway and it’s not surprising that a highlight is soon to be heard. Strange Land is truly beautiful. As the acoustic guitar propels along, Marc Atkinson sings about the refugee problem. To say that the song manages to hit quite a bit is at least an understatement, not to mention the wonderful guitar solo by Simon Godfrey. Goodbye My Friend is also such a poignant affair. The meaning of it is anyone’s guess, but it doesn’t matter. The setup is again very nice with a beautiful keyboard moment as a tribute. With the remarkable To Those Who Are Left Behind one gives a moody sequel to the previous song. Here it is the pastoral piano and the sad singing that fill the space. After Uprising, the album closes with a reprise of the opening title track that completes the circle.
“The Tide” is a beautiful album that gets better with every turn. I know of few CDs that inspire so much awe. Mighty what splendor.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022