Review Summary: Every song seems to build up charm.
Emotion is a powerful thing. How songs even when they are not technically remarkable, can still remain to mean even more, even if they are only a few simple cords. Some whole albums are based off this principle, and when done right, the albums obvious flaws manage to become it's strengths.
At its core Down the River of Golden Dreams is essentially a folk album. From its lyrics, to its vocals, and its stripped down instrumentation, every song seems to build up charm. Through out every wavering vocal, and every new clever story from Will Sheiff, the album becomes more human and more relatable. Through the amazing one two punch, of The War Criminal Rises and Speaks, and The Velocity of Saul At The Time of His Conversion, everything seems to fit and flow perfectly. And this album continues this way for 11 songs, and when it does hit a road block, it is nothing to condemning, and almost seems to make it more human.
Another huge attraction to this album is the lyrics. Will Sheiff, is a true modern day word smith, and knows how to pull on your heart strings. If you listen to any of his albums it is easy to tell he originally went to college for a creative writing degree, and this album showcases his best work. With poetic lines like Main Island lovers, If you really want to love me/Then just do it, and the for-mentioned War Criminal, I’d restore their lives/and then give back my own. But Sheiffs true talent is not in one liners, but is his ability to tell a story, which is essentially want the album is a collection of stores. For an example take this of their song Yellow, which is about divorce, and the effect it has on kids.
"And I really do think that there's probably more good
Than anger or selfishness, sickness, or sadness
Would ever completely allow us to have in this life,
think I'm sure.
But that doesn't mean it's bad.
We were walking towards our dad,
While getting out of that school bus,
And he just said
"I love you,"
And he reached out to us."
In the end this album is very powerful yet very simple, it knows how to play off its strengths, and is a true indie folk masterpiece. The lyrics are perfect, and the music is simply amazing, and overall a compelling listen.