Review Summary: Not necessarily the best of both worlds.
This is an interesting album, simply because of the duality of it. On one hand the band can't let go of their past screamo and punk influences. The other however is them trying to do something new, and explore other genres. Bitter River is definitely a transitional album, and it definitely shows. The duality of the album makes it interesting, but it also accounts for its biggest flaw, as the album feels disjointed and at times it seems like two different bands are on the album.
The opener is their standard screamo sound. While it is a good song on it's own it doesn't really serve a purpose. The reason being is that the band already traveled on this path. We've all heard these guys play this kind of music. The Folk songs are the most the focal point of this album. The ironic thing is that the slower and quieter songs are way more interesting than the loud ones. The song Headless is folk jam just over a minute long and is easily better than any of the punk songs the album presents. Songs like headless give across more emotion than any of the punk songs, they're for the most part pretty well written too, but at this point the band hadn't really gotten down the formula quite right, as they all seem to be lacking something.
The opener is a screamo song, then roughly every other song following is a folk song. Send Bombs is almost a noise rock song, and Foul Mouthed mother is almost a mix of Noise rock and punk. Malady Savvy is another Sceamo song and then the album goes right back to their Folk song. The problem here is obvious. The constant genre hoping makes this an odd listen. There is no consistency with this album. No song combines the two sides in a clever way, it's either on extreme or another. Even though the Folk songs are the best on here they aren't anywhere near the quality they will reach on their next two albums. So here we have half a punk album that comes nowhere near the greatness of Pg. 99 and a Folk album that doesn't have anything on their later material. Nice.