BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
River Whyless create a hypnotic appeal, one that suggests a kind of psychedelic sensibility of a ‘60s vintage as well as some Far Eastern mantra that furthers its mystique. Granted, there’s not a sitar in sight, but the band’s meditative melodies and supple strings convey a Zen-like sound that transcends any supposed nu-folk designs. Band members Ryan O’Keefe (guitars, vocals), Halli Anderson (violin, vocals), Alex McWalters (drums, percussion) and Daniel Shearin (bass, vocals, harmonium, cello, banjo) make a sound that’s unceasingly mellow, in so doing relying on a more cerebral style as opposed to an approach that promises instant engagement.
Songs such as “Baby Brother,” “Falling Son” and the title track induce a quiet and calming state of bliss, with added brass and strings adding to that serene suggestion. Of course that’s also evident in song titles like “Bend Time,” “Sailing Away,” “Blood Moon” and “We Are All the Light,” all hinting at the unusual, understated approach that resides at their musical core. Taken in tandem, it suggests a feeling of peaceful repose, a calming effect that’s decidedly out of sync with the cacophony of modern times. Given that the group hails from the idyllic environs of Asheville North Carolina, the air of tranquillity would seem part and parcel of their DNA, but the way that they transmit that aural imagery conveys an effortless effect as well.
With We All The Light, River Whyless offers a much needed respite, and more importantly, a way to illuminate the deepest, darkest shadows with the clarity of the light.
DOWNLOAD: “Bend Time,” “Sailing Away,” “Blood Moon”