No Kind Of Rider - Savage Coast

by Howard Scott Rating:8 Release Date:2018-07-13
No Kind Of Rider - Savage Coast
No Kind Of Rider - Savage Coast

The first full length offering from “No Kind of Rider”, entitled  “Savage Coast”, is a haunting and sometimes tense landscape of ethereal sound. During production of the album, three of the five band members lost their fathers to the great beyond, and the sense of loss and tragedy can sometimes be heard and felt in the music. That is not to say this is a melancholy collection of “woe is me” cuts. Overall, the recording begs questions we have all asked ourselves at one time or another. Questions that we know will never provide us with satisfactory answers. 

A short instrumental opens the LP, and then one of the disc’s strongest  cuts follows. “Time Is Unkind” starts with Wes Johnson’s throbbing bass line which is then enhanced by Samuel Alexander’s vocals and lyrics. The chorus asks the eternal question “Am I  a fool, for believing?” Believing in what is left a bit open to interpretation, but I believe every listener  can fill in the blank from experience in his or her own life.

Joe Page’s synth work kicks in with the second stanza and gives the song incredible background depth. Throughout the album, the electronic keyboard work is highlighted without being overwhelming. The mixing talents of Jeremy Sherrer have done an admirable job of giving each instrument an equal place at the table. The bass lines, especially, are much more distinct than is usually the case on many recordings.

“Distinct” is another fine piece of music, highlighted by the opening guitar work of Jeremy Louis. Jon Van Patten’s  accomplished drum work doesn’t kick in until the song is almost a minute old, but enhances the overall feel of the cut upon making its appearance.

The title track: “Savage Coast” carries the strongest melody on the album, with exquisite musical  work from all five members. Alexander once again delivers a strong vocal over intelligent and inquisitive lyrics. The vocal capabilities of Alexander are exceptionally appealing. His voice has a strength and tenor that would be at home anywhere in the musical spectrum. It is pleasant and soothing, without being sleep-inducing.

Another semi-instrumental “Intermission” follows, with ghostly voices being softly presented over the instrumentation. It’s an interesting break in the middle of the auditory experience.

The final offering, “Autumn” is a unique contribution. For the first four minutes the listener is given another finally crafted tune, which then disintegrates into a complete aural cacophony of noise. This is followed by forty seconds of completely dead air. A recording of seaside sounds, such as seagulls chirping over coast-crashing waves gives the listener a hint of where the title “Savage Coast” originated. The gap in the middle is a bit strange, and I have to wonder how many listeners will actually make it to the end. Its a bit like leaving the theater during the credits, and then finding out you missed an extra scene that followed.

My issues with the ending aside, this recording by the Portland, Oregon based band is an enjoyable listen expertly produced by Andrew Stonestreet. Personally, I found it most satisfying to sit in a dark room, with my favorite liquid poison by my side and best headphones straddling my head, and just let the majesty of the recording soak into my brain. This LP would have been just as impressive if it had been a full instrumental project, but the proficient vocals take it to a different level. 

 

 

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