New York native and singer-songwriter Brendan Rivera’s 2012 album, “No Ocean In Ireland” has been pressed on high quality Vinyl. These are super limited LP’s will not be repressed, so may well become a collector’s item for all Rivera fans. The Brooklyn-based Rivera penned and recorded his first full album, The Musician with his longtime friend turned producer, Mike Kalajian back in 2008. After which time he would record an Ep entitled “Place In A Parlor,” with the band Looking Glass Wars, before completing the “Body Of Land” album on his Veggie Co. Records label.
“No Ocean In Ireland” may very well epitomize the sound and message that defines what Brendan Rivera is all about, as this release is filled with songs that weave a tale of the highs and lows, and the loves and the losses through the journey of life. Every mood is captured by thought provoking songs that go deep to the heart with lyrics that convey messages of faith, hope, and reflection.
This album which requires several listening’s to bring out its true essence, will grow on you if you have an ear for acoustic guitars, simple rhythms, twisting melodies and top notch instrumentation that is punctuated by Rivera’s vocals. After the “Introduction,” you will find the title track, “No Ocean In Ireland” with its anthemic pulse, inviting. “Hole In The Curtain” is also an ear catching tune with its throbbing bass line and delicate Irish influences floating in the mix. But upon additional listening, other gems shine forth and reveal the depth of this artist. Tracks like “Strangers” with its storybook lyrics, or the sultry “Silver Moon” bring this album to life. The overall sound of the mix is powerful yet mellow, with all instruments shining through, and never overshadowing each other.
Brendan Rivera’s substantial alternative rock sound with a world flavor, is dark at times, vibrant at others, but always driven and highly enjoyable. Listening to this album reminds me that Rivera is one artist who is still willing to follow his interests and give us something honest and real. This personalized album gives us a taste of what Rivera can do outside of the large chord world. It shows his voice and message very clearly, while maintaining a musical interest with strong core structures to each song. This album is filled with melody and purpose and is built as a whole piece.
Like all albums of any depth, this needs time to grow and build and there really are so many layers of material here that it will take time to really dig in and see what this album has to offer. Its lush soundscapes on the one hand, and the open unashamed, ‘acoustic-guitar and voice honesty’, on the other, may often come across as simple and lazy, but it really stands as mature song-writing. It builds its appeal not by being showy or heavy, but instead by pulling melodies together into interwoven, staggering tunes which at times, emphasize the use of space and minimalism.
No matter what kind of mood you’re in, “No Ocean In Ireland” will supplement it perfectly. Highlights of the album, apart from the aforementioned tracks, also include; “Carved House,” “Centerfold” and “Sail Away.” However, every song is enjoyable in its own way.
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