Boasting a lineup more appropriate for a hippie
jam band than an efficient folk rock group with punk rock tendencies (eight
members! Seriously, how do they split the door eight ways and still manage to
eat each night?), New Jersey’s
River City Extension has proven that their well-loved 2010 debut was hardly a
fluke. Their latest full length, Don’t
Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger,
is another dozen or so satisfyingly original tracks by what could
possibly be your next favorite band.
Though I am tagging them as a folk rock band
thanks to their heavy reliance on acoustic instruments and their liberal use of
banjo, cello and mandolin, these guys are chameleons at best, fitting in
somewhere between Arcade Fire and Joe Strummer’s post-Clash work. They have
earned an early fan base in the indie punk scene and were snatched up wisely by
the small, but influential Jersey punk label XOXO Records (early supporters of
Gaslight Anthem), but they sound as if they could have just as easily come from
a scene in Austin, Brooklyn, Portland or any other Hipster friendly place that
also manages to produce damn fine bands every now and then.
Getting the most out of their expansive crew,
River City Extension takes full advantage of their numbers with group choruses
on songs like the powerful “Point of Surrender” and “Down, Down, Down”. Themes
of love, apology and, yes, religion (just consider where the album title comes
from) show up throughout the record, tying the tracks together thematically.
A slow build of sorts, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger may not draw you in on the first or even
second listen, but repeated spins of the disc, wax, whatever, pay off in full
if you’re willing to give it a chance. I know patience is a lot to ask from an
ADD-diagnosed music buying public, but sometimes patience is a virtue (hey,
isn’t that from the same book as the album title?).
DOWNLOAD: “Point of
Surrender,” “Down, Down, Down” and “There & Back Again” JOHN B. MOORE