Current single ‘The Forest’ is next, offering a swinging, soulful update to the best song Richard Ashcroft never wrote. Melodically and harmonically, the twists and turns of this song are so pleasing, so just right that it is hard to describe. Sure, Black Rivers won’t change the world, but within three songs of the beginning of their debut album, you find yourself wishing that you lived in such a time as that songs like this could, indeed, inspire a world-changing hope. Debut single ‘Voyager 1’ is another highlight as synths and guitars layer upon one another with such intricacy, such precision. The verse, particularly, feels like it could have been lifted from In Rainbows. Of course that could be because it really sounds like ‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi’, but this doesn’t stop this song being a towering centerpiece of the album.
‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’ is another twist on this album of stylistic diversity. As it begins, School of Seven Bells come quickly to mind as an atmosphere is built. And built. And built. The groove, when it arrives, is deeply satisfying. It is followed by the aggressive 'Age of Innocence', whose chorus is a punch to the stomach, the kind of hook that, once heard, will never leave your brain.'Coral Sea' returns us to soulfully-swung, Radiohead-esque atmosphere, before 'Deep Rivers Run Quiet' does exactly what it says on the tin, as restrained processed piano and off-kilter guitars all too soon closes the album on a beautiful note.
“Some bands are rooted in the reality of the here and now,” says Jez. “I suppose we’ve always been about escapism.” There are shades of proggy fantasy here that blasts us into space and questions of “interplanetary faith” with the jaunty, synth-fuelled indie pop of Voyager 1. They also part the fronds of Seventies psychedelia on The Forest and cut us adrift on “a sea of longing” on The Ship, which owes a debt to Jean Michel Jarre.
Settling unshowily into the middle of the mix, Jez’s singing isn’t bad either, putting heart and soul into songs like the yearning The Wind that Shakes the Barley which sees him “standing at the window of your doubt”.