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Single Review : These Wicked Rivers – The Riverboat Man

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Review by Gary Spiller for MPM

Possessing the finest facial hair in the business is but a sideline for hard-grooving Derby quintet These Wicked Rivers; there’s the significant task of obtaining the last in retro standard lamps too.

It’s been several years since I caught these delta-land rockers tearing up the Introducing Stage at Minehead’s Giants Of Rock Festival. With a couple of extremely promising EP’s already under their collective belt; with the likes of the highly emotive ‘Don’t Pray For Me’ and the soaring eagle that is ‘When The War Is Won’ providing sage-like strongarm hints of the talent herein. In my mind much bigger and better things were awaiting on the horizon.

Forward wind some eight years and with the stunning debut album ‘Eden’ released back in 2020 word has it that a brand-new long-playing offering (‘Force Of Nature’) is going to hit the streets at the beginning of March. Ahead of its release Derby’s finest treat us to a third single lifted from the album’s highly anticipated environs.

Following in the footsteps of the swaggering ‘Black Gold’ – aired in many shows last year and clearly destined to be live stalwart – and storming titular track ‘Force Of Nature’ These Wicked Rivers excel themselves in the form of ‘The Riverboat Man’.

Listen carefully and within this single’s delightful groove you might just discover who was actually responsible for the river running red; souls traded in reach of a riparian haven. Up ahead, in the still creek, where the riverboat sways under the unrelenting sun double is witnessed.

It’s a most heady of blends that is served up here; intoxicating and aurally hypnotic mellifluous arcs that are brightly daubed with savage bayou eloquence. From the off Arran Day’s low-slung riffs are partnered with hammer of the god strikes from drummer Dan Southall; it’s not long before Rich Wilson’s luxuriant keys braid themselves in a cogent enchantment.

Vocalist / guitarist John Hartwell is in fine fettle, “I’ll take away the pain with just a whisper in your ear” he offers as Day’s guitar shreds all within earshot and Dale Tonks’ basslines dance a merry footfall.

All enwrapped in a swagger that a primetime Steven Tyler would be mightily proud of These Wicked Rivers despatch a timely tale of the underdog dappled in contrasting shades of light and dark. A story is woven and cinematically delivered leaving me gasping for breath and eagerly awaiting their May headline tour – charmingly entitled ‘Peace, Love & Lampshades Tour.’

Pre-order new album ‘Force of Nature’ (out 1st March 2024) HERE

Album pre order link: https://tinyurl.com/ylvpx578

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