It Holds Up: Rika – ‘How to Draw a River, Step by Step’
Posted: by The Editor
Rika’s earliest releases established them as the Austrian equivalent of bands like Empire Empire and Joie De Vivre: inheritors of a slow, meandering style of emo pioneered by Mineral and Christie Front Drive. Their 2009 split with Everton, from its art to its shoddy, overblown production, almost feels like a holdover from a decade earlier, and the split with Empire Empire that followed stretched that sound its logical endpoint; their contribution, “Skutner,” approaches seven minutes of starry-eyed balladry. Delicate arpeggios fall away to be replaced by spurts of distorted twinkling, riffs get drenched in and then overtaken by trumpet, and the whole song matches toward the triumphant climax that so defines the genre. Not to put too fine a point on it, “Skutner” is essentially the apex of this style of emo, a singular track that captures what makes the genre at its best so captivating.
Naturally, the band’s debut LP represented something of a lateral move.
There were, of course, those interlocking riffs that call to mind the giants of the ‘90s, and tracks still build to swooning, cathartic finales, but How to Draw a River, Step by Step is more richly textured than its predecessors. The band settled into a slowcore and post-rock inflected groove that foreshadowed what bands like Foxing, Pianos Become the Teeth, and Caracara would be doing in just a couple of years.
Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison
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