River Gods

  Upon your first listen to River Gods, one thing is immediately clear: these people know their way around a hook. Shiraz Dhume, the band's bespectacled and unassuming frontman, has a way of navigating a song that manifests a deceptively listenable piece. It's easy to feel good after a River Gods song without realizing that you've heard Shiraz sing "I hope that I die before I'm old / tell the ones I love that I am terrible." But it can be hard to not feel like you want more of this self-abuse; the songs always last long enough to pique your interest but never long enough to leave them alone after just one listen. If River Gods wrote songs about anything else, they'd still be doing the job just fine. What makes the band so good, though, is that there is some real depth to what they create and pain inside to explore and relate to. But it's easy enough to ignore if you don't have it in you; the surface is glossy and the riffs are tight.