Armed with a Tascam 388 tape recorder, Canada’s MOONRIIVR, is a wholly unique entry in the alternative-music-diaspora. Today, the band releases their new album Volume 1, along with the release of the music video for “Flowers on the Fire Escape.”
With a body of work reminiscent of ’60s exotica acts and inspirations ranging from Buddy Holly to Krautrock, the band is comprised of vocalist Gavin Gardiner (The Wooden Sky), guitarist “Champagne” James Robertson (Lindi Ortega), bassist Ben Whitely (The Weather Station), and percussionist Lyle Molzan (Kathleen Edwards/Bon Ivers EXGF).
Laced with sweetly reverberating slide guitars, wonky string synths, and nimble percussive environments, the quartet has managed to craft a beautiful record of idiosyncratic, exotic indie folk.
The “Flowers on the Fire Escape” video sees the band performing the track outside of a crowded antique shop, showing off their outsider tastes and veteran musical instinct.
MOONRIIVR’s knack for creating sonic worlds that are at once lightly trippy and wholly inviting means that, as much as Volume 1 draws on inspirations from decades past, it maintains a pleasing, distinctly out-of-time feel.
The debut single off of Volume 1 is titled “Blonde Hair Now.” It is accompanied by a live music video, available now.
The songs on Volume 1 came together on an old analogue tape machine, laced with sweetly reverberating slide guitars, wonky string synths, and nimble percussive environments.
Thematically, the songs are wide-ranging, providing a winning contrast to the laser focus of MOONRIIVR’s sonic architecture. Running the gamut from personal reflections on finding pleasure in the minutiae of everyday life on “Blonde Hair Now” to meditations on some of the more disturbing and inescapable developments in world politics over the last few years (“Midnight at the Garden Hotel,” “Flowers on the Fire Escape”), Gardiner deftly addresses these seemingly disparate thought-poles with a balance of opacity and directness.
While not beating the listener over the head, Gardiner doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable topics, whether it be climate change or navigating friendship schisms that developed around divergent pandemic politics. It’s the kind of record that can thrum warmly in the background but also pays dividends for those listeners willing to dig a little deeper.
11/17 – Grad Club – Kingston ON (w/ Peter Dreams)
11/18 – Dominion Tavern – Ottawa ON – (w/ Peter Dreams)
11/23 – Owls Club – ALBUM RELEASE – Toronto ON