And indifferent it will leave you.
The age old cliché of “oh, I only like their old stuff” that’s used when referring to any long lasting band exists for a reason. It’s almost guaranteed there’s someone somewhere out there who could claim that phrase for almost any artist quested through the linear confines of the Google search bar. Wreck and Reference’s latest album, Indifferent Rivers Romance End would fall no stranger to this statement and in honest terms, depending on one’s ability to receive newness, is actually warranted.
Wreck and Reference have obvious avant-garde roots ingrained in them that should be acknowledged, despite the tawdry easiness of touting their past bides over their present. It’s the existence of this experimental footing that grants them more leeway with pulling from other musical factions, though the new presence of pop chart sensibility is a bit confusing.
Indifferent Rivers Romance End starts off with “Powders” which features a noisily chill elongated intro that’s more in Wreck and Reference fashion. It’s more of a piano ballad, but suddenly a hip hop presence comes over the song almost out of nowhere. That continues on into “Flight but Not Metaphor,” but “Ascend” brings the beginning of the album back to W&R’s more metal ties.
“Liver” sounds like Radiohead’s “Talk Show Host” and “Modern Asylum” is like the duo’s take on Devil and God era Brand New. Compared to the usual eclectically heavy Wreck and Reference musicality, these two tracks in particular separate this album from their others.
Things get more like normal with the shrill screechings of “Manifestos” and “Languish,” but Indifferent Rivers Romance End concludes with probably the biggest curveball of the 10 tracks. “Unwant” is a page ripped out of ’80s Goth and New Wave 101, fading away into an empty dungeon-like echo of murmurs.
In all of its breathiness, Indifferent Rivers Romance End isn’t necessarily a terrible album by any means, but if Wreck and Reference’s usual brash force of artsy metal is more a preference, don’t rush out to listen to it. Consider this album like what Depart from Me was for Cage.