River Whyless, ‘We All The Light’ | Album Review

(Still from ‘All Day All Night’ Official Video)

River Whyless of Asheville, NC released their long awaited album, ‘We All The Light,’ today. What really separates this album from their first album is the fullness in sound. Between the gorgeous harmonies, the playful percussions, and the fiddle at the front center of just about every track, this album will be groundbreaking for the career of this band.

Not only is the album incredible, but River Whyless has made two official music videos in the process of releasing. ‘All Day All Night’ was directed by Jethro Waters. And Life Crisis was directed by North + Nomad. Both are beautiful visual representations of the album. Watch below.

Written & Directed by Jethro Waters
Headpiece sculpture by Carley Brandau
Hair: Full Circle Salon
Production assistants:
Lauren Van Epps
Haley Nocik
Kaitlin Shannon
Carley Brandau

Director: Simon Biswas
Executive Producer: Karen Nagy
Post Production: Simon Biswas

‘We All The Light’ is incredibly refreshing in it’s instrumental sound. When listening to this album the first, second, third….tenth time, I kept finding myself stunned that instruments, not machines, are making these noises. It reminded me that River Whyless is more than some run of the mill indie band. This band has something unique to offer that I can’t say I have seen in any other band.

The album opens up with ‘Baby Brother.’ River Whyless serenades us with etheral harmonies, celtic instrumentals, and a wandering sense of nostalgia. Followed by ‘Baby Brother,’ is ‘Falling Song.’ River Whyless noted that this song is about “hanging on to dreams as we get older” (NPR–First Listen). The violin plucking in this song reminds me of traditional indian music, yet the celtic influence is still very much there. ‘We All The Light’ has a secular influence indeed.

The third track, ‘All Day All Night,’ changes the pace of the album. Each member of the band, Ryan O’Keefe, Halli Anderson, Alex McWalters, and Daniel Shearin, harmonize in a musical-like tune, letting their voices carry through your body. ‘Kalangala,’ the fourth track, contrasts that. The vocals are whisper-like, telling a story of once before.

If ‘Bend Time’ doesn’t have a Fleetwood Mac influence to it, I think I’m completely missing the point. Do the opening instrumentals not kinda of sort of want to make you sing “…..listen to the wind blow…” ? No? Okay. Anyway, this track highlights Halli’s old soul vocals. This song is all about romance. Halli spills her guts in the name of how desperate love can make us feel.

‘Life Crisis’ is the most foot-tapping tune of the album.  It starts off with a stream of consciousness, expressing ones thoughts to a lover on how one feels about said lover leaving, traveling, running away from life, from love. The song breaks out of the babbling stream, into passionate lyrics, reminding us that we’d do just about anything for love. We’d lend the skin off of our backs, just to make the one we love comfortable, even if they hurt us. 😥

‘Sailing Away’ feels like a dream, perhaps a lamenting dream. It mimics the feeling of a breakup, as a past lover slowly fades away from the memory. The mind wants to forget for sanity sake, the heart holds on so tight to what once was and what could still be.

Halli’s vocals tell a story about moving forward and possibly away in ‘Blood Moon.’ Transitioning into ‘Moth,’ the album continues down a melencholic road. This song reflects on regret and a lack of confidence to fully love.

‘One for One’ reflects on a romantic and idealistic idea of a one and only true love. River Whyless is a band made up of hopeless romantics, I’m starting to believe. But, it’s so charming and so raw and ever so vulnerable.

‘We All Deserve The Light’ wraps up the album with a reflective and somber tune, highlighting vocals by Ryan O’Keefe. It’s the shortest and sweetest song on the album, but it wraps it up perfectly. To me, the song is saying that no matter what, even after pain, and fighting, and rejection, one can still have enough love for another to say that they deserve happiness, they “deserve the light.” Growing up, I was always told, “there’s a fine line between love and hate.” River Whyless pleads the humanity in us, to thicken that line, to love harder…

I cried…a lot.

Anyway, buy the album HERE! Never been more proud to live in North Carolina!!

River Whyless Tour Dates: 

Sat 27 Aug 2016 Elmwood Park Roanoke, VA, US
Wed 07 Sep 2016 Ogden Theatre Denver, CO, US
Thu 08 Sep 2016 The Waiting Room Lounge Omaha, NE, US
Fri 09 Sep 2016  Thalia Hall Chicago, IL, US
Sat 10 Sep 2016 Fine Line Music Cafe Minneapolis, MN, US
Sun 11 Sep 2016 Majestic Theatre Madison, WI, US
Tue 13 Sep 2016 Mr. Small’s Theatre Millvale, PA, US
Wed 14 Sep 2016 Adelaide Hall Toronto, ON, Canada
Fri 16 Sep 2016 Royale Boston, MA, US
Sat 17 Sep 2016 Nectar’s Burlington, VT, US
Mon 19 Sep 2016 Union Transfer Philadelphia, PA, US
Tue 20 Sep 2016 Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY, US
Wed 21 Sep 2016 Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY, US
Fri 23 Sep 2016 9:30 Club Washington, DC, US
Fri 23 Sep 2016 AmericanaFest 2016 Nashville, TN, US
Fri 07 Oct 2016 Festy 2016 Arrington, VA, US
Sat 08 Oct 2016 The Orange Peel Asheville, NC, US
Sun 09 Oct 2016 Cat’s Cradle Back Room Carrboro, NC, US
Wed 12 Oct 2016 Georgia Theatre Athens, GA, US
Thu 13 Oct 2016 Terminal West Atlanta, GA, US
Fri 14 Oct 2016 WorkPlay Theatre Birmingham, AL, US
Sat 15 Oct 2016 Fifth and Thomas Tallahassee, FL, US
Fri 28 Oct 2016 Teragram Ballroom Los Angeles, CA, US
Sat 29 Oct 2016 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach, CA, US
Sun 30 Oct 2016 Rialto Theatre Tucson, AZ, US
Tue 01 Nov 2016 The Crescent Ballroom Phoenix, AZ, US 
Thu 03 Nov 2016 The Depot Salt Lake City, UT, US

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