Album Review: River City Extension

bill bodkin reviews the new album from one of the best bands in the land…

There are a number of things about River City Extension’s new record Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger, that can be said in short, declarative statements.

This record is brilliant.

This record is going to move you.

This record is beautiful.

This record might be the best piece of music released this year.

This record may change everything you know about the band.

Yes, this might seem like a journalistic gimmick, an attempt to be clever with an intro, but this is not the case. After listening to the record front to back multiple times, these very short, impactful and in this writer’s opinion, gospel true statements are what’s left resonating in your brain.

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger is an absolutely majestic, beautiful and honest record. It’s a soul music for the indie scene; teeming with tracks that stir up emotion and well up tears in your eyes. It’s the kind of record you can play on a long, soul searching road trip or as the sun sets on the sandy beach you’re lying on. It’s an emotional record that can help you cathart and help you celebrate — it’s joy and sorrow in one 14 track album.

And no song on the album seems to capture this essence than “Ballad of Oregon.” It’s such a spirit-rousing track, that you can’t help but feel it in the bottom of your soul. Lead singer Joe Michelini’s voice is at once heartbreaking as it is hopeful. The emotions this guy can convey through his vocals are staggering, almost unbelievable and you can really feel it on this album cut.

A band, River City Extension has taken a decidedly massive leap forward. One could say this is a more “mature” or “grown-up” record, but that wouldn’t be doing the band justice — it’s not like they were writing skateboard punk songs about hopeless teenage romance before this album. However, you can see the band has evolved since their last album, the fantastic The Unmistakable Man. The rollicking folk rock sound of that previous album is still there in spirit, but on this album you can hear the sonic risks the band took, trying new and outside the box concepts and the results paid off in spades. There’s a much richer, fuller and more majestic sound to the band.

While hyperbole sometimes is a close and personal friend of this writer, I can say with all honesty, that a record has really never moved me on an emotional level as this record has. There’s something about it, it’s almost indescribable, but there’s this magic about this band, this record that envelopes me every time I listen to this record. It’s a wonderful experience, one that should be experienced by lovers of music who are longing and yearning for something truly amazing in their lives.

To make a bold statement — if there is one album that you must own this year, it is River City Extension’s Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites