River

Rain Phoenix

LaunchLeft, 2019

http://www.rainjphoenix.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/05/2020

Well, this is a surprise. Sometime actress and singer Rain Phoenix releases her first record under her own name and it’s a dedication and salute to her brother, the late River Phoenix. It’s quite touching, despite its brevity. Opening track “Immolate” is beautiful, moving and simple; it contains real frills, just her unique voice. It’s enough to make the song stand out and be more than just simply powerful and moving.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Throughout this eight song, thirty-two-minute record, there are moments for Phoenix to be one with her brother and somehow let him know how much he is missed. The indie rock vibes of “Stay Together” gives her the perfect showcase for her musical broadness as well as her singer/songwriter voice. Having been in bands for years, including papercranes, she has been able to define her expanding musical palette and pinpoint where she wants her vocals to be.

On “You Right,” one of the much more slower tracks here, she talks about love bleeding and that has a whole other context when it comes to talking about her brother. With the touching and haunting piano-led “Time Is The Killer,” longtime friend of the Phoenix family Michael Stipe puts in a stellar vocal duet with Rain that leads the way for the song to really be interesting and stand out from the rest of the pack. When her vocals are combined with someone like Stipe, which creates a different, offbeat form of harmony, the lyrics really shine and allow the listener to grasp what Rain is saying to her dearly departed brother.

The real winner here is “Hey Heartache,” a woozy ballad of loss that speaks to anyone who has dealt with utter devastation. Such a song should not be missed by anyone who loves great indie ballads. It’s just a gorgeous song! Meanwhile, “Lost In Motion” has a feeling like it would fit right at home on today’s radio. Sultry, swinging, and with lots of smooth vocals, it’s got a nice blend of upbeat tempo and downcast lyrics. This is such an interesting track.

Overall, River is a mixed musical bag that results in a collection that touches at the heart of loss and allows a voice that hasn’t been given its best showcase to shine across a deeply moving collection of material.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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