I have been aware of Conquer Rio for a few years now; I have seen them live back at high school and have occasionally caught glimpses of them elsewhere. Tj, Lew, Jake, Cobley and Zach are fun to be around and have a lot of experience playing together. In high school, I heard them perform various covers, including ‘Wake Up’ by Arcade Fire, which they pulled off flawlessly. I had not however, heard a single original song from them until ‘Why We Fall’, and I was very eager to do so. I was not disappointed.
The first track from the EP, ‘Float’ is interesting to me. This kind of music is usually the kind I hate. However, try as I might, I can’t seem to stop myself from enjoying the track. At times I believe the vocals could have been more ambitious, but every other element of this song is incredibly pleasing to my ears. That of course is not to say that the singing is poor, because it is clearly not; the singing is enjoyable and tuneful. ‘Float’ is what Bastille could be if they got their act together. Float isn’t a song to excite, but it is a great track you can listen to with your headphones and just enjoy without having to jump around; I can quite happily sit bobbing my head and take it all in. (I love the gang vocals that close the track! – Editor)
The second track, ‘Strangers’, starts with a bizarre blend of classic rock n’ roll and modern alternative rock. When the vocals and frankly awesome bass kick in, it is difficult not to smile. The song is happy and I would be totally comfortable playing it at a party without worrying that it would put off guests from dancing. The song showcases the vocals a little more than Float, which is something I felt was needed. The lyrics are more than they seem, and after a few listens to the song you can really see how much thought was put into writing this. This is what good music is: poetry with guitars.
‘Goodbye Was Your Name’ is probably my least favourite song from the EP. I don’t dislike the song, but I feel that it lacks the power of Strangers and the calming effect of Float. Again though, the lyrics and vocals are inspiring. I was glad of the piano accompaniment just over half-way through the song, as I felt it added a gentle rhythm that the start of the song was lacking. Overall, whilst being the low point of the EP, Goodbye Was Your Name is not a song that I dislike enough to skip past it.
It is when the album comes to its close that I feel Conquer Rio start to shine. ‘Superman is Dead’ not only has the most exciting song name, but the most exciting vocals, lyrics, drums, and guitars. Conquer Rio should definitely continue down the path that Superman Is Dead has begun to pave for them; combining the soothing sounds of the verses with the immense power that nearly takes you off your seat in the chorus. I wish I could say this more formally, but I don’t think it would do it justice: that guitar solo was amazing. Anyone can play a lot of notes really fast (which takes skill I admit) but few can make a guitar sing like this. Piano has never been more excellently applied to an intro for this genre of music, and it will be a long time before we see it again.
As you may have guessed, ‘Superman is Dead’ was definitely the highlight of the EP for me, but I enjoy the other songs too much to skip past them. EP’s like this make me realise that it is pure luck that some artists reach the top. Conquer Rio deserve a spot at Glastonbury festival more than half of the acts (*cough* Vampire Weekend *cough*). I wish the boys the best of luck with the future, but if they continue to come out with songs as brilliant as some of these, they won’t need it.
‘Float’ and ‘Superman is Dead’ are just great. ‘Float’ is not without fault, but with the song writing ability that brought us their final track behind them I know that these faults won’t be repeated. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Why We Fall’ and am now already excited for their next release. See you at Glastonbury one day fellas!
Download: Superman Is Dead
For Fans of: Foo Fighers, Bastille
(The thoughts of any reviewer is the sole opinion of themselves and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of [WAM])