Discovered 





Rivherside  ‘Electraw Blues’  5th  May 2014



Well it sure ain’t Paris, Texas. It ain’t even Paris, France. Even further removed that that, our ‘electric raw’ blues twanged tones are transmitted from the industrial heartlands of the Auvergne; to be more specific, Clermont-Ferrand, an apparent satellite of the country and blues American landscape, twinned, at least in spirit, with Louisiana.

 

Pumped with a triple dose of Hip Hop, electro and sophisticated European soul; the blues is given a sweet aftershock on the latest EP by Renaud Villet’s alter-ego, Rivherside. With his daughters’ la la la las, looping electroglideing beats and an agreeable rap from, fellow Clermont resident, TDB, the opening ‘Haters’ lays down those conscious expanded influences and styles well. This commercial bent protestation eases up on the esoteric blues to pursue a sound that has more in common with the recent Haiti disco, direction of The Arcade Fire than arched, pained finger picking of the delta. The more poised, doleful, ‘Something’, even suggests a taste for the swooning soul of Jeff Buckley. Very blues noir, Villet oozes sophistication as a crooner, sultrily lamenting over a tight delayed percussion, and piqued cool guitar riffs.

 

If you’re familiar with Villet’s previous, debut, LP Something On My Mind, then this EP’s ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Come Over Here’ tracks keep with that original roots-y blues and country boogie formula.  The synths and drums continue to pulse and clap but the first of this duo of tracks is a Depeche Mode fronted Canned Heat gnarling industrial strengthened swamp rocker.  The latter, stalks the path to salvation with an electro-fried cowboy spur rattling penance through the desert. A suitable French-African waned and intricately plucked guitar flexes and ekes out one long solo on this opus finale, merging Americana with a suitable illusion of atavist Malian blues.

 

Perhaps felling stifled or restricted, Villet has broadened his range. This four-track trial, a taster and precursor for an as yet untitled album, released in a few months time, is hardly a leap of faith, when so many blues disciples have married it to rock, pop, electro, Hip Hop…. the list goes on – anyone remember Beck?!

However, apart from the opening Hater, this album works best when we get to hear the attentive and often snarly, resonating guitar playing; something I hope the next LP will feature more of. Rivherside then is our new favorite south central French honed delta bluesman.


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