River Rouge "Not all There Anymore"
L.A. based Andre Comeau and his band River Rouge are a fine example of an independent band who beaver away producing fine work, but whose chances of hitting the big time are as likely as this reviewer winning the lottery. It’s likely that they have a loyal local following and a smattering of admirers here and there who have heard their earlier work. Chances are if you are reading this then you’re the type who will seek out such bands in the hope that you’ll stumble across a winner now and then. River Rouge, while not exactly a jackpot winner, are certainly well worth a punt.
The better parts of this album have a “good time” loose rocking feel that might remind listeners of Ronnie Lane’s work with Slim Chance, and on the closing song “Yes” there’s even a taste of the earlier Lane with his chums The Faces. A fine celebration of life it rolls rather than rocks with organ, piano and lap steel providing a solid groove.
The live “No Good For Nothing” is another choice piece of good time music. Showing a darker side on the title song, a slide guitar driven ballad, Comeau shows that he’s also listened to the Stones circa 1970 while adding a modern touch that recalls Sparklehorse. Although there are a few fairly pedestrian rockers on the album ("Riff Raff", "Good at Goodbye") these are more than compensated for by the country vibes of “Murder of the Crows” and “Arc Welded Love”.
Mention must also be made of the opening song, “Black Licorice.” An anomaly here but essentially a blisteringly hot slice of R’n’B inspired garage punk with honking sax that strangely enough is not followed through on the remainder of the album. Nevertheless a fine effort.