Rivers Arms

[Western Vinyl,]

  Following up on their self-titled release from last year, Texas outfit Balmorhea return with "Rivers Arms".  Quiet dangling of unspoken truths, half-spoken guitar textures and string instruments galore, the duo is now more persistent than ever to make their message out in as crystalline a form as possible.  Two musicians at the heart of the band are Rob Lowe and Michael Muller, who split their time on guitars, banjo, glockenspiel and piano.  The beauty that resounds in the music is one of stillness.  As moments of pensive thoughts float in and out of the picture, the listener is wrapped in blankets of simple, wordless choruses, utter satisfying picks on the strings and heartfelt, joyful playfulness.  I'm not exactly sure how this music is the product of its geographic location as I've never been to Texas but I somehow imagine the wide-open spaces of the secluded desert and cattle-land creep into the band's repertoire.  Violinist Aisha Burns along with cellist Erin Lance add soothing layers of humming, wistful atmospherics, while Jacob Glenn-Levin inserts further colours to the already rich palette with his bass guitar.  Perhaps this is music that was never meant to be enjoyed by the masses, but for the chosen - the ones who seek something altogether quiet and organic at heart - "Rivers Arms" is just the right pill for the hunger that ails.  

Tom Sekowski

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