In a style as one would expect from a blues rock band, Kent-based Big River’s album debut begins with a harmonica solo. It’s clearly taken from a live recording, and it’s a little odd that no one cut the audience whoop at the end of the track. Thankfully, the album really begins to get into the swing of itself with the sophomore track, “Blues Blood Baby”. It instantly has all the makings of a solid blues rock classic: strong riffing, a catchy harmonica line, and versatile vocals. The third track, “Mama” is even more interesting rhythmically, and it’s noticeable that the band toes the line between the boundaries of blues rock and hard rock pretty well.
The middle section of the album continues on a similar trend to the beginning; though what the band don’t aim for in musical diversity, they make up for in strong songwriting. Big River seem to be a band that knows their sound and want to stick to it, instead of experimenting too heavily. That could be a blessing and a curse; a little more experimentation could be nice, but equally, if this is what has built the band up such a steady following in the Southeast of England already, there is probably some fortune in sticking to what they know best.
The production quality remains high throughout the duration of the release, and that is something to be praised. Once the main part of the album gets underway, there are no lapses in audio quality to be heard, and that immediately makes for an easy album to get into.
As “Redemption” draws to a close, “You Are My Sun” is a track that stands out to the listener as a song that offers something a little different to the hard blues riffage that dominates the rest of the album. It’s slightly slower, with an exquisite synchronised harmony midway through from the guitar and bass that builds well into another guitar solo before a powerful ending chorus.
Big River’s debut promises a lot to come from the band in the future, they are clearly good songwriters and talented players. However, if they dared to occasionally, and not too much, stray a little further away from writing catchy blues rock songs and allow the music to progress, then they would have all the makings of a band ready for bigger things. “Redemption” captures everything about the band as it currently is, and it’s an album that certainly deserves some radio airtime. It will be interesting to see where the band go from here.
Redemption Is Out Now Via Self Release