Run River North
Run River North


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
June 19th, 2014 | 27 replies | 1,939 views


Release Date: 02/25/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rushing like a spirit from a wineskin bag...Out of dreams, into the sun.

Run River North, a small Korean-American folk band formed in 2011, is an ideal candidate to become one of 2014’s breakout indie artists. Their quaint, woodsman-with-a-guitar approach hasn’t yet drawn them much attention, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t composing some of the most beautiful indie-folk that there is to be heard this year. By combining their folksy instrumental roots with lush strings and crystal clear production, Run River North make themselves likeable upon casual listens yet admirable from a critical standpoint. It’s one of 2014’s win-win indie records, and it’s very likely to catch fire if exposed in the right light.

Run River North’s eponymous debut thrives on its ability to take delicately crafted, acoustically-based songs and make them sound majestic. “Monsters Calling Home” is the most palpable instance, in which Alex Hwang’s soaring vocals intertwine with his bandmates’ to form a gorgeously melodic chorus that is driven by rapid, energy-exuding drums. Listeners may initially find this slightly off-putting, as it follows in the mold of today’s popular and overbearing indie-pop acts. However, the album quickly settles into a more modest groove, one that intricately balances their folk foundations with moments of brief grandeur. “Beetle” – easily the best song on the record – showcases the band’s rich orchestral side, underscoring the depth and spirituality of their lyrics. Run River North consistently harbor deep and sometimes dark feelings about life, but they package those demons in comfortable melodies that put an uplifting spin on all of their poignancy. This is a trend that exists from one bookend to the last, spanning the length of their debut and providing it with the substance necessary to separate it from other lesser “indie-pop” acts out there.

Another noticeable and quite admirable trait of Run River North is its ability to make smooth and effortless transitions. “Lying Beast” showcases this best, commencing as a quiet finger-plucking acoustic exercise which progresses in slow-burn fashion…eventually, it erupts in all of its splendor, featuring exquisite orchestral strings and an infectious vocal harmony chanting “Lies! Lies that I couldn't see! I couldn't see that the liar was me! And so I flew away with myself, I was the beast all alone in my hell.” When they aren’t composing dynamic momentum changes within songs, the band frequently settles into simpler moments of an acoustic nature – such as “Run River Run” and “Fight To Keep.” The best part is that the album loses no steam whatsoever, and such gems only serve to augment the album’s sense of rural, natural authenticity.

Run River North’s debut is a strong one – it rarely falters, and possesses all of the components needed to make it an effective crowd-pleaser for multiple types of fans within the genre. Its refusal to commit to a more minimal approach - or to launch itself into full blown stardom – leaves Run River North in something of a limbo, but that’s perfectly acceptable as long as they continue to pair meaningful lyrics with melodies of this magnitude. It will be interesting to see what direction this band treads in for future albums, as they have enough talent to succeed no matter where they end up going. As it stands, we’ll always have this gorgeous and sprawling indie-folk debut to look back upon as Run River North’s highly-touted inception.




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user ratings (12)
Chart.
3.4
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Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2014



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

This isn't a new release but it's one of those early-2014 albums that I meant to review and had no free time.

This is currently in my top 10 albums from this year, so give it a listen if indie/folk/rock is your thing.

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
June 19th 2014



9884 Comments


Nice to see you back man! I love your reviews.

madddubokbro
June 19th 2014



19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So happy someone finally reviewed this, not to mention you! I've been listening to this for a while, definitely one of my favorite records this year. The album version of Monsters Calling Home will never top this one though https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL6E2ahvyKg

madddubokbro
June 19th 2014



19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review though. I agree with them needing to be exposed to the right light, they've been doing Honda commercials and mostly YouTube promotion, and I think they could be so much bigger.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 19th 2014



19672 Comments


what mongi said. I remember reading your reviews before i even joined the site haha

ProjectFreak
June 19th 2014



1320 Comments


sowing sighting!
this looks pretty good btw, and I don't even listen to folk much

Emyay
June 19th 2014



5945 Comments


will check

SnakeDelilah
June 19th 2014



6656 Comments


oh shit sowing is a staff member again

Digging: Mineral - EndSerenading

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2014



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks all. I was happy to review this...

fallenbird
June 19th 2014



3719 Comments


Sowing is staff again?!?!

Digging: The Red Paintings - The Revolution is Never Coming

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2014



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah I have more free time now that it's summer vacation, and I think I'll be able to do enough even during the school year to be worth having around. (Hopefully, lol)

henryChinaski
June 19th 2014



2733 Comments


Band name sounds familiar. Never checked them out. That embedded song is pretty great though!

Digging: The Tidal Sleep - Vorstellungskraft

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2014



10070 Comments


This sounds so pleasant. I may have to give this a spin. Nice to be on that front page with you, man! I don't remember if you were staff when I was promoted, but at either rate we can work together now.

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2014



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I think you got promoted a few months before I bowed out. Yeah man, it'll be good times.

henryChinaski
June 21st 2014



2733 Comments


What's wrong with that shoutbox thing. I meant to say that they remind me of Of Monsters & Men :]

johnnyblaze
June 21st 2014



2603 Comments


girlfriend got me into these dudes with Fight to Keep; very solid record. nice review dude.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2014



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I figured that henryChinaski - I hope that's a good thing! lol

Thanks johnny, glad to hear you're liking this.

MagmaWalrus
June 21st 2014



241 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Monsters Calling Home reminds me of Typhoon, the way it's always shifting but still sounds cohesive and carefully arranged

Digging: Nick Mulvey - First Mind

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2014



15893 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Love Monsters Calling Home too. That was actually the original name of this band before they changed it.

MagmaWalrus
June 21st 2014



241 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think I like it a little more. Run River North is such an indie-folky band name



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