‘When The Sun Ate The Moon’ debut EP from Ben River - ‘folk rock in a velvet coat’(May 19, 2015)
It’s always a pleasure when a debut recording has something different to offer, and then promises more. Singer-songwriter Ben River has released an EP ‘When The Sun Ate The Moon’ and although ‘folk’ isn’t the first word that jumps to mind, there’s definitely something going on that fits beneath folk’s wide and diverse banner. Without getting mired in any folk-not-folk debate, the words "warmly delivered, carefully constructed, mellow folk rock", come to mind but for brevity I’ll settle for "folk rock in a velvet coat", which pretty much hits it.
As well as luscious levels of instrumentation, the major differentiator with this EP is the touching longing that River adds to the overall impression, with a finely pitched, magnetic vocal overlaid on engagingly structured melodies. There’s a trace of vulnerability to his voice that gives the songs a raw simplicity that pulls you into their narratives, whether observational or personal. When you’re listening to the gently thoughtful ‘More Than Words’, hopeful expectation within ‘Light Through The Trees’, sensitive narrative through the enigmatically titled ‘Sheffield/ Tunis’ or the yearning closer ‘You Were There All Along’, that expressive voice adds depth to the wash of instrumentation.
If ‘When The Sun Ate The Moon’ is an accurate and representative taster of River’s capability as singer and songwriter, then there’s every likelihood that his name will become more widely known and his music more widely played. And that’s what any artist would wish for. Find Ben River here: www.benriver.net
Review: Tim Carroll