Beginning with a hearty jam that Clutch would thoroughly approve of, Brooklyn’s River Cult kick off their debut album with the walloping “Likelihood of Confusion” which in all likelihood will not leave listeners confused as to the rawkin’ intent of this trio. Concluding with a spacious excursion of sound that’s like a mix of “Spacegrass” and Sky Valley-era Kyuss, the lengthy opener still barely scratches the sonic surface of what’s to come.
Oh, did I say lengthy? That’s nothing compared to the nearly twelve minute colossus that comes next! “The Sophist” just goes on for ages! Yeah, I said it. But does it keep your attention for those ages? Holy hell, yes! Glimmering and glistening with an almost mystical feel bringing listeners further into the River Cult world, the tune traverses across genres mixing prog, psych, doom, desert, and just plain rawk within this beast. Drummer Tav Palumbo lays down an almost trip-hop beat that’s stunning and hypnotic while Sean Forlenza’s guitars drive the track when he’s not soulfully singing his heart out.
If you zoned out at any point during “The Sophist” then you might’ve missed how seamlessly the song segued into the wholly instrumental monolith that is “Seething” which, quite simply, seethes with grooves and epic fuzzed-out jams. The title track begins with a bass hum courtesy of Anthony Mendolia that rolls in like thunder before turning into yet another grand psychedelic crusher with Forlenza’s voice once again at the forefront, bringing a passionate croon to add to an already spacey vibe.
Closing out with the twangy, downtrodden rawker “Point of Failure”, Forlenza cries out “It’s not easy to up and quit” before exploding into some fuzzy riffage at one point until eventually the ditty dissipates into a harmonious flurry of solos and beats.