RVIVR - The Beauty Between (Cover Artwork)


RVIVR: The Beauty BetweenThe Beauty Between (2013)
Rumbletowne Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
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It's been nearly three years since RVIVR dropped their self-titled debut full-length, a record which never gave this writer the experience anything more than semi-pleasant background music, but in those three years the Olympia, WA-based group have stepped their game up on almost all fronts, and crea.

It's been nearly three years since RVIVR dropped their self-titled debut full-length, a record which never gave this writer the experience anything more than semi-pleasant background music, but in those three years the Olympia, WA-based group have stepped their game up on almost all fronts, and created one of the most arresting punk rock albums in recent memory in The Beauty Between. It's a very pleasant and welcome surprise that any fan of the genre would do well to seek out immediately.

Much like "Rain Down" opened RVIVR's self-titled 2010 album, "The Seam" begins with a lengthy tension-building instrumental intro before launching into an all-out punk assault. It might actually veer a little too close to that song, structurally speaking, but once the song truly kicks in, the listener is treated to some of the finest punk rock whoas since Japandroids' "The House that Heaven Built" and all is forgiven.

RVIVR won their devoted fanbase playing a speedy brand of pop-punk, and The Beauty Between has plenty of that to go around. Barnburners like "LMD," "Spider Song" and "Wrong Way/One Way" deliver the sound that fans have come to love, but with a sharper sense of dynamics and the matured songwriting ability that comes from spending years playing together on the road. Any one of these songs trumps anything in their back catalog. However, the group have much bigger things on their mind with The Beauty Between, and several songs display an ambitious streak barely even hinted at on past releases.

"The Hunger Suite" is a three-part, nearly ten-minute opus that transforms itself from a mid-tempo classic rock-influenced number, to an ambient noise piece, to a hyper-aggressive punk rock thrasher and back again. There are saxophones, shred-tastic guitar solos (these ladies and gentlemen really know how to play their instruments) and all manner of things many bands of this breed wouldn't dare to touch. Quite frankly it's pretty weird, but it's a risky experiment that pays off splendidly, and poses a nice contrast to the more traditional punk rock songs on The Beauty Between. That weirdness does find its way into other songs as well however, most noticeably in the saxophone solo in "Big Lie."

Guitarist/vocalist Erica Freas is the clear star of the show on The Beauty Between. Three of the songs that appear here ("Spider Song", "Paper Thin" and "Rainspell", to be exact) first appeared on her excellent solo album Belly. Much as a certain 1990s cartoon dog's presence demanded "Whenever Poochie's not on screen, all the other characters should be asking ??Where's Poochie?'", RVIVR should be asking themselves a similar question whenever Freas is not at the mic. To his credit, co-vocalist Matt Canino tries his hand at more melodic singing than the trademark yell he's developed, but it's hard to think of another duel vocaled band in punk rock where one singer is so clearly more talented than the other. Blink-182, maybe, if they count.

RVIVR have become infamous in punk rock circles for the aggressive manner in which they espouse their gender politics both at live shows and in interviews. On The Beauty Between, these topics are addressed more directly, albeit subtly enough to be applied to any number of situations in the lyrics of songs like "LMD" and "Wrong Way/One Way." The album title itself can be seen as a commentary on their dismissal of the gender binary.

The Beauty Between made a RVIVR fan out of a listener that was previously ambivalent and occasionally even a snarky detractor. If I could award a "Most Improved Band of 2013" prize, I would give it to them. This a well-rounded, ambitious and brave punk rock album, the finest of the year so far. If you weren't a fan before, give this record an honest chance. If you WERE a fan before, prepare to become a super-fan.


People who liked this also liked:
RVIVR - LP [12-inch]Iron Chic - Not Like ThisThe Menzingers - On the Impossible PastDear Landlord - Dream HomesJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyBomb the Music Industry! - VacationRed City Radio - TitlesAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Flatliners - Cavalcade

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
renaldo69 (November 14, 2013)

"Paper Thin" is such a brilliant track.

TibbsTastic (May 16, 2013)

This record is fantastic! So far, record of the year for me! They've came along way from their last LP! Love it!

onegirlarmy (March 29, 2013)

Also, Erica shines on this, which is great. I love the dynamic of her and Matt's dueling vocals like others have said. Yeah, Matt can be a prick/act like one for sure, but I still enjoy the music he makes and love Latterman. Sue me.

onegirlarmy (March 29, 2013)

Like someone else said, I'm not super crazy about RVIVR's recorded output thus far except for the "Dirty Water" ep. But this full length is really good. RVIVR seems to be coming into their own finally.

pokinatcha (March 21, 2013)

Sounds like Dead to Me minus the bad songs.

patanno (March 4, 2013)

Love it

rickdog81 (March 2, 2013)

I like this loads, I like that it draws comparisons to Iron Chic. Not sure if its one of those albums I'll love forever and ever but for now it's getting plenty of spins from me.

elliot (February 28, 2013)

Only listened to it once and I already know it's better than the last one. They don't sound that much different, but they somehow stepped their game up in a big way. Songwriting and singing is much improved.

strumz (February 28, 2013)

dual, not duel

krankykirk (February 28, 2013)

this album is front loaded as fuck. i dont like it quite as much as their first one. buts its still pretty good. elephant song is fucking pointless though, much as pause was on the first lp.

NotPatriotic (February 28, 2013)

Yeah this album smokes like everything else this band has put out.

This band is as good as pop punk gets. It's perfect.

devianter (February 27, 2013)

you know.. when they were milan or bologna (i don't remember exactly) there were like 10 people in the venue cause at the time, and generally, nobody knows shit and gives a shit about punk in italy. these guys played like a 1.5 hours show just for those 10 poor motherfuckers who came to see them. it was a cool show. so in my book rvivr dudes are great.

thisrespirator (February 27, 2013)

This is the best thing this band has released and the best thing released so far this year. It should easily be in my top 5.

eran_zombis (February 27, 2013)

amateurchemist, if the song that bugs you is the last track, then take comfort in the fact that it's a cover song!

Bugliens (February 27, 2013)

Awesome album. You can totally sing "Thrash Unreal" over Party Queen!

danperrone (February 26, 2013)

introducing...the first GREAT post-latterman record

flowerfeeder (February 26, 2013)

I can't be friends with anyone who doesn't like this album. It's that good.

mikexdude (February 26, 2013)

They need some autotune.

feloniousjive (February 26, 2013)

God I hate saxaphones. Looking forward to hearing this though.

jimmynorville (February 26, 2013)

I completely agree with your indifference to their older stuff and also think this album is fantastic, but your assessment of Matt is a little harsh - especially when one considers how strong "Party Queen" is (which seems to be where the title comes from and doesn't strike me as being related to gender). Anyway, this is a good review and pretty much how I feel.

Amateurchemist (February 26, 2013)

I didn't expect to like this; as far as RVIVR goes, I only really like Dirty Water, and there was one song on it that really bugs me, but I'm enjoying this album!

slymer (February 26, 2013)

Love this album. Definitely will end up as one of the best of the year.

Thrusters (February 26, 2013)

Can't really get into any of the songs that aren't LMD, Spider Song, or Wrong Way/One Way, but those songs are fucking perfect.

telegraphrocks (February 26, 2013)

Matt Camino (or whatever the fuck his last name is) is a bag of poop.
No comment on the album, as I have no desire to listen to shit that asshole wrote, but... dude's a turd.

cbsrocksteady (February 26, 2013)

This review is misleading. They sound the same. That's not a bad thing - I always thought they were great. Still think the Dirty Water EP is their best output though.

losergeek (February 26, 2013)

Love this album, but the big surprise for me is how much I enjoy the slower/longer songs. That generally flies in the face of what I usually like about music and this band in particular.

MN_DrNick (February 26, 2013)

Good album, but the second half is all filler and slow.

DiscoInfiltrator (February 26, 2013)

While a agree that Erica steals the show, I think you're a little harsh on Matt's vocals. I really like the dynamic he and Erica have going on, and I think their vocals complement each other well. I don't think that the record would be as good overall if Erica was the sole singer on every song.

bastard_squad (February 26, 2013)

It's a fine record but nothing on it really grabs me. 5 Stars? You guys are nuts.

coffee_bandit (February 26, 2013)

Seriously, what a record. Agreed on the praise for Erica, I'm glad she gets more of the spotlight on this album, but still not enough damnit! She's pretty darn awesome. Wrong Way/One Way into Big Lie is so excellent. Stoked to see them in Brooklyn March 10th!

Farkasok (February 26, 2013)

This is a great album - their best release so far. I was a fan before (despite how over the top they can get with their politics), and this probably will turn me into a super fan. Pretty interested in seeing where they go from here!

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