“It took us 6 months and 4,000 miles, but our first full length record, Great River, is out today.” California Dream and Psych band, Children- Tom Gil, Jeff Steiskal, Graham Walker, Trevor Wallace, and Mark Yates -posted Friday on their Facebook as they thanked everyone who contributed to the process of the album.
Recording the album in Mississippi, Great River offers a humble and deeper simplicity to their songs, versus relying solely on catchy melodies, and draws obvious inspiration from the “Great River” in all matters. In the midst of the revival of the 60s psychedelic currently on the music market, it can become difficult breaking away from primarily being thrown under this genre. The bands that are capable of standing out and defining a sound of their own will be the ones to rise above the sea line. Children are one of these bands.
The starting track on the album, “Salamander,” also the first song to be released, sets the tone for Great River, with soft, and mellow rhythmic sounds, dipped in psychedelic gold. Yet, this does not hold the overall feeling the album possesses, and will lead to delightful surprises as one delves further into the album, such as the next track, “Vigil (Strange Gods).” Picking up on the same tempo as “Salamander,” this track immerses the listener in quiet self-thought. An overall feeling the album acquires, as each song transports the listener to another world, while focusing on simple beats, and dreamy vocals.
One of the best songs on that album would be “All To Myself.” Honest, and beautiful selfishness, wanting someone all to themselves. With vivid lyrics, that provide a haunting bitter sweet sting, similar to watching a clock pass time: “Don’t fly away from me / ‘Cause if I loved you I would let you go / But I don’t.”
Fluidity of Great River is a notable feature Children executed beautifully. From track to track, each one ties into each other, mimicking motions of water currents, obviously seen, felt, and even heard within certain lyrics.
“Doowaddadoo” may seem like a ridiculous title, when in the end it is a clever product of exhausting words that “escape” an individual. For reference, the lyrics are “ only for you, do I do what I do,” but nothing ever comes out how we mean it at times.
The track to be hailed, would be “Incantation,” which is deceitfully beautiful. Tipping the line of psychedelic surf, immersed with dreamy echoes within guitar and bass riffs, this track quiets all thoughts and leads me to the believe this is what a spirit hears when in limbo. This is the beauty. The other side to limbo, or conscious thoughts, are what weighs a person down, and is heard, and felt within the lyrics: “when did fun become slow suicide.”
The shortest track on the album, and purely instrumental, is “Great River.” Acting as a divider within the album as the flow of music continues, the track is immediately followed by soft and prominent bass lines, and hints of the 60s chimes which are heavily heard on “Don’t Take All Night.” Other tracks, such as “You’re Gonna Get It,” provide a toe-tapping, and warm funky vibe, which is also the most insistent in the nature of sound.
The tracks on Great River are not always what they seem, and proving another version of beauty and deceit would be the track “Skin You.” A track that melodically provides slight warning in small traces of its eeriness, yet the softness of vocals, and whaling of guitar effects, lull the listener to explore further. An instant dreamy track, that led me to see the metaphorical side of wanting to know more about an individual- under the skin and all. Yet, literally exploring the short, direct lyrics, and vocal execution that doesn’t provide much warmth for another direction, crosses the line of obsession that leads to the extremities of wanting to “skin you alive.” – “so you may learn to love me / for the killer that I am.” This delivery is another valuable quality to mention looking at, feeding the sadistic and masochist pleasure.
Drifting away from the usual sound, the next track “Samantha” holds reminiscent qualities to that of a church hymn. A delicate and beautiful track, only reaching climax through the nature of the symbols and a keyboard. The ending of this song perfectly leads up to “Good Things,” a flawless transition. There couldn’t be a better way to end the album than through the synergy between these two tracks, and the positivity chiming through “Good Things.” Towards the end of the song, an odd break slows the track again as Gil’s voice echoes, “You’ve got a good thing coming” which ends the song, album, and idea as a whole.
As each song found its way into my heart in its own way, the delicate nature, breaks, and tempo changes heard on all tracks, justify the effort and well craft of this album. Not only does the band provide quality sound, they also have the ability to go deeper, subtly, and effortlessly. Lyrical value on all tracks are one of the elements that give the album its definition. Dreamy, simple, beautiful, and overall, enjoyable, are the least to describe Great River. “Five men, four beards, one sound.”