With the originality and inventiveness seen in their 2016 debut Breathing Cold, Night Idea’s sophomore release had an immense amount of anticipation months before it came to be. The progressive rock act from Richmond, VA, unveiled Riverless to the masses on Oct 13 via the Chicago vinyl-only label Gigantic Noise, their hometown cassette-only label Hand to Mouth Tapes and their other hometown label JUJU. This new album pushes along their uncanny style of songwriting while incorporating electronic dimensions. It has more of a psychedelic vibe than their first album but it also keeps their trademark abstract style intact. There’s an abundance of variety with nothing sounding anything close to generic.
Guitarists Carter Burton and Reid LaPierre complement each other in wonderful ways with Burton taking the lead on vocals and LaPierre backing him up to provide harmony. LaPierre also brings electronic presence via his sampling and keyboard skills. Joey Anderson on bass guitar melds his talents with Ethan Johnstone’s multi-dimensional drumming to be the backbone for Night Idea’s sound. It’s a stellar display of music that has Night Idea tapping into various tones. The senses are bound to be intrigued once the play button is pressed.
Other than simply being a follow-up, a sophomore release has a distinct amount of importance to a band’s evolution. Some acts will keep things steady by relying on the sound of their first record in order to maintain the fan base that they originally had. Other acts will push themselves to move forward and discover new ways of playing their instruments. It goes without saying that Night Idea accomplished the latter. For a closer look, let’s check out my top tracks off of the Album of the Week:
“Gift Horse” starts off with a mix of smooth jazz and a hip-hop beat into a cavalcade of mellow and groovy tones; it’s both a prime example of Burton and LaPierre’s harmonies and of LaPierre’s including sampling into Night Idea’s music. Johnstone’s drumming shines during “Perfect Water,” the base for a track that goes all over the place with captivating riffs and numerous elements. There’s a bit of a stripped down vibe in “Wandering” along with a blissful feeling due to the subtle distortions.
Night Idea will be celebrating the release of Riverless at The Broadberry in their hometown of Richmond on Oct 20. Eric Slick (of Dr. Dog), Antiphons and Magnus Lush will be rounding out the bill for what should be a wild time. While you’re there you should obviously grab a copy of the new album. It’s a record that explores soundscapes and soothes the soul.