Fresh out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Riverby is announcing their presence with a gusto. With a shiny 90s rock vibe with a little modern punk mixed in, Riverby’s debut album follows all the ups and downs of love, relationships and moving on. Smart Mouth hits this Friday on July 10, 2020 via Take This To Heart Records.
The effort opens with “Nose to Nose,” immediately providing listeners with a catchy bass and guitar lines to match. When the vocals enter, they lend that 90s rock sound that is only further cemented as the entire band crescendos into the chorus. If you had any doubt about vocalist/guitarist Sophia Greenberg’s abilities, leave those at the door- this was the first song that they wrote on electric guitar.
The titular “Smart Mouth” starts out with an electrifying guitar riff that continues throughout the song and instantly grabs your attention. The track features loud, in-your-face lyrics that will make you want to yell at everybody who has ever done you wrong. The guitar, paired with the soaring vocals in the last chorus, is guaranteed to leave listeners speechless and will keep them coming back for more.
“Giving Tree” and “Out of Tune” are a far cry from the up-beat, angsty rock of the first two tracks. Riverby leaves behind the gritty, loud vocals and instead displays a softer, more vulnerable side of the band. Where “Giving Tree” is fake-happy, “Out of Tune” is all-natural, 100% heartbreaking. Both tracks allow Greenberg to really stretch their vocals, allowing the listeners to actually feel the hurt and near-hopelessness that Greenberg must have felt while writing these songs.
“The Tell Tale Heart” catapults listeners back to that 90s rock sound that was present in the first parts of the album. Everything about this song makes me want to do a terrible, stereotypical performance of it in my room- hairbrush microphone, air-guitar, you name it. All of the lyrics in Smart Mouth have been great, but something about this song really swept me away, particularly the second verse. Maybe it’s the space-related lyrics, maybe it’s the raspy quality that Greenberg’s voice takes on; I’m not sure, but you won’t hear me complaining.
“Echoes” follows up with a sound that we haven’t quite heard yet, a meet-in-the-middle between the shimmery 90s rock and softer ballads on the album. Once again, Greenberg’s emotions are almost tangible in their mournful voice, but it’s not an unwelcome sound at all. The track seems to end on a cliffhanger, but is picked up immediately by the album’s closer, “In My Dreams.” It opens with a powerful sounding guitar riff, followed by equally robust vocals. If there’s one thing that this song proves, it’s that Greenberg truly has a way with words. There are some gorgeous vocal lines, and I kept re-listening to catch more of them. I dare you to find me another artist who can use “as you talk about socialist regime” in a song and make it work- you probably won’t be able to, but I can find one right here for you.
There’s something special about Riverby. I’m not sure if it’s Greenberg’s high-flying vocals, the out-of-this-world guitar riffs or their ability to translate emotions into words so perfectly, but something about Smart Mouth just sounds right. As if you need another reason to support them, all of the proceeds from the album’s pre-orders, and the band’s merch sales, are being donated. Check out more information about that on the band’s Instagram page. Between the hearty rock sound and delicate ballads of Smart Mouth, there’s no doubt that I’ll be recommending this album to everybody for the foreseeable future.