REVIEW: Rika – "How to Draw a River, Step by Step"

My first exposure to Rika was via their extremely great split with Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate). Their song on that split was a very promising song. Being an Austrian band, I was very surprised how adept the band was at making music that sounds like mid-90s Midwest emo. They had a very Mineral-ish thing going on. There wasn’t a bad thing about them.

How to Draw a River, Step by Step is very interesting, because Rika has stepped out of the shadow of their influences. You can still hear the post-indie emo sound in there, but they have expanded their sound to allow for some other influences that don’t usually show up in this kind of music. They remind me of the local bands I was seeing around 10 years ago when I was in high school. Ostensibly emo bands, but so much more. This record feels like an emo record filtered through some great atmospheric post-rock and some indie.
Musically, this record paints a beautiful landscape. The guitars are strong, the vocal harmonies are amazing, and the addition of violins and piano really makes this record a great listen. It’s easy to pigeon hole this record as just another emo revival record. That wouldn’t be fair. This band has a lot to offer.
Rika continues to mature and advance their sound. I’m not sure how much of a foothold this band has outside of Europe, but they could be a great staple band in this genre. If this record is any indication, there is going to be some great things coming int he future.
Buy It (CYLS – US)
Buy It (Goddamn – Europe)

REVIEW: Arrows & Empire! Empire! split & Rika / Empire! Empire! split


Three songs of picture perfect emo music.

From Brisbane, Australia, Arrows open this split up. I had never heard this band before, and I was quite pleased with what I heard.  Their song on here, “All Passwords Are Brisbane,” is certainly a great introduction to me. Musically, they have more than a little in common with Empire! Empire!. It is a bit of a no brainer to say that if you dig one, you really should dig the other.

The two Empire! Empire! songs on here, “Turbo Stasis” and “We Did Not Need To Open It To Know It Was There,” are further examples of how great this band is. These two songs would fit excellently in any part of their discography.

Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)
Count Your Lucky Stars
Hobbledehoy Records
Stream It (BandCamp)
Buy It (CYLS) (Hobbledehoy)


Everything I said about Empire! Empire! above is basically true on this split as well. “We Were Not Small Or Great But Grown” kicks off the split with the introspective songwriting one would expect from this band. “It’s A Fate We Can’t Escape. Someday We Will Pass Away” is a very moving song about seeing someone close to you die. Honestly it is one of their best. It is also the first song by these guys to get close to the five minute mark in quite a few releases.

Rika’s one song on here is similarly fantastic. Calm, twinkly emo with great vocals (both lead and backing). The backing vocals don’t fuck around on here. “Skutner” is a great song that rises and falls in all the right places. This band is from Vienna, Austria. Check out their other stuff, it is great.

Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)
Count Your Lucky Stars
Goddamn Records
Stream It (BandCamp)
Buy It (CYLS) (Goddamn)

Sorry I combined these to one post.