Do we automatically need to find everything good that musically comes out of Denmark? No, but there’s clearly a high chance that we will. Over the past years the Scandinavian country became one of NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION‘s favourite places to look for good music. The list of artists is long, we won’t bother you with it. REPTILE YOUTH is one of these names that popped up in the course of the past two years. After the release of their self-titled debut in 2012 the band played almost every possible festival and tour they could book. That’s the spirit. And pretty soon they acclaimed reputation as a lovely live band. And indeed they are. Mads Damsgaard and Esben Valløe and their catchy indie power-pop with strong electronic influences is one that is best enjoyed when experienced live.
Rivers That Run For a Sea That Is Gone is the name of REPTILE YOUTH‘ second studio album. And according to the duo it is directly influenced by the live experience of the past years. The roughness of these shows, that clearly put the material off the debut album on a different level, should be transformed on the record. At least that was the plan. At the end the new REPTILE YOUTH record is as slick as its predecessor, once again filled with grooving power-pop that will instantly make your feed move and your head nod. It might add a few new aspects to the musical microcosm of the duo but it’s far from the attempted rawness. Unfortunately.
Tracks like Colours and Two Hearts are still representing the usual four-to-the-floor-sound of REPTILE YOUTH. Not entirely a bat thing since Damsgaard and Valløe really know a thing or two about how to reproduce that sound. The attempted edgy attitude from the band is visible in a bunch of new ideas. The title-track Rivers That Run For a Sea That Is Gone starts with noisy breakbeat rhythms (Hello 90s!), before turning into another hypnotic power-rock tune. Where You End is an excursion in blues rock, although a quite mediocre one. After a promising start the middle of the album, especially We’re All In Here, leaves you a bit disappointed before a return to the well known REPTILE YOUTH formula in the second half also brings a shift in quality.
All of the Noise and Diseased By Desire, the final songs of the record, present the band in top form. You can’t deny a certain epic appeal in these. It’s a bit like REPTILE YOUTH fall for the old ‘second-album’-mistake. They want everything and they want it in the most perfect way. It’s not that Rivers That Run For a Sea That Is Gone is a weak record – it clearly has its moments – but the band could be so much better if they screw the slick production and radio friendly concepts and finally manage to fully put the madness of their live shows into an album. Until this happens we advice you to just visit one of the band’s upcoming live shows.
With ‘Rivers That Run For a Sea That Is Gone’ REPTILE YOUTH add a bunch of new ideas to their formula, still it feels like they haven’t exhausted their full potential yet.
NBHAP Rating: 3/5