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.