Published Jul 22, 2014Since the release of their acclaimed 2009 debut album, Revolt of Angels, there have been significant changes in the Bend the River lineup, but on this sophomore outing, they remain built around the eloquent songs and pleasing vocals of main man Ronok Sarkar.
Now a seven-piece, the Halifax-based roots-rockers have a versatile sound incorporating elements of soul, folk, country and rock, while vocal variety is also provided by Norma MacDonald and Becky Siamon. Moody ballad "This Heart Of Mine" features a female lead, while songs like "No One Else To Blame" feature their backing vocals to good effect.
Unlike so many other large rootsy bands these days, there is a pleasing restraint to the BTR sound. The album was recorded primarily live off the floor and direct to tape by Charles Austin (of Super Friendz fame) and this helps account for the warm sonic ambience. The group actually save their best til the last here, as the elegaic "Dear Old Jackson" and lively "The Echo And The Sway" close things out in fine fashion. (Bend the River)