steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Force Field" CDR

The Zen Ranch

Genres: lo-fi, indie rock, indie pop

Dave Hiney
16407 Stackpole Road
Monroe WA, 98272

Jan 12 - 18 2004

Rivertubes is a Washington state-based lo-fi indie rock band that specializes in spacey, noisy pop songs drenched in tape fuzz but dripping with raw hooks.  Elements of Guided By Voices, Eric's Trip/Elevator, and Tullycraft are all present in their sound, which is a remarkably compelling one.

"Cats Fly Dog Kites" is one of the disc's best songs - it's got a psychedelic folk feel, brimming with pretty hooks and a finely crafted Elevator To Hell-esque chorus.  "Go To The Circus," on the other hand, is a crunchy, vaguely Pavement-influenced pop tune that's as infectious as an Oasis single.  Meanwhile, "Standard Issue Insect" is much different, with an enjoyably quirky indie rock sound not far off from early Camper Van Beethoven work.

But don't go on thinking Force Field is perfect - there are certainly some downsides to this album.  "Mandoor," for example, fails to hold on to the listener's attention due to a lack of effective melody.  "Crisp" is also irritating in its needless experimentation, but is short too, fortunately.

All in all, Force Field isn't perfect, and it certainly may be a bit too lo-fi for some listeners, but for those dedicated DIY indie poppers out there, it will make for a very worthwhile purchase.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]