I’m not quite sure why but I think These Wicked Rivers is a great name for a band. It conjures up images of the American South, mountains, stunning sky lines, Blues music and erm… rivers.
The actual band These Wicked Rivers might not actually be from the American South (They’re from Derby) but they do make awesome sounding Blues-rock.
The quartet of John Hartwell (Lead vocals, rhythm guitar) Arran Day (Lead guitar, backing vocals) Jon Hallam (Bass) and Dan Southall (Drums) came together in 2014 and this record that I have right here is their debut EP The Enemy.
Opening salvo Ladykiller is undoubtedly a highlight. The central riff is almost Black Sabbath-esque while the track as a whole has this great dirty Blues feel. The band lists Joe Bonamassa as an influence so if you imagine a Joe Bonamassa track dragged through the dirtiest puddle you can find you’ll have what this song sounds like. (That’s a compliment in case you were wondering) The guitar solo is fantastic and the gruff, rough and ready vocal from Hartwell is bang on the money. This is a band firmly in their element and loving it.
Following track The Bottom Of Here took me by surprise as it is a completely different affair to the opener. For the most part it’s really stripped back and the vocals are a lot more gentle and smooth with things only ramping up for the chorus. The song runs towards its conclusion with the kind of screaming grandstand solo that it would simply be incomplete without. Although the track is completely different to everything else on the record, I’m a fan, I like the versatility.
Can’t Take It sees the band kick back up through the gears and into territory which I think they are a great deal more familiar. This is where the band are in the pocket; making grungy, bluesy, rock music. The lead vocal sounds like it has been reintroduced to Jack Daniels and takes on it’s rough around the edges slant once more as the band swagger and riff their way through what is just over 5 minutes of badass rock music.
Final and title track The Enemy ties the opener as my favourite; I just think it’s a hell of a lot of fun. The pace changes are fantastic, the pounding drums dictate the song’s flow and the guitars screech with a beautiful intensity. All I could think of when listening is that I really want, scratch that need, to hear this song. I think it would take your face off and that is something that I need to feel.
This is undoubtedly a very good record. It’s dirty, gritty and some of the riffs and guitar solos are nothing short of sublime. If I was nit-picking I’d say the production could have maybe been a little sharper but other than that The Enemy is a cracking listen from front to back. Well worth checking out.