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RVIVR - The Beauty Between Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 8.75
Production 8.75
Creativity 9
Lasting Value 9.25
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 89%
Member Ratings
Vocals 0.25
Musicianship 0.25
Lyrics 0.25
Production 0.25
Creativity 0.25
Lasting Value 0.25
Reviewer Tilt 0.25
Average: 3%
Inside AP.net

RVIVR - The Beauty Between

Reviewed by: Scott Weber (03/05/13)
RVIVR - The Beauty Between
Record Label: Rumbletowne Records
Release Date: February 25, 2013


After Latterman split in 2007, the band's two vocalists went on to new endeavors. Phil Douglas joined NY's Iron Chic, and Matt Canino joined up with female vocalist Erica Freas to form Olympia, WA pop-punk band RVIVR. The band's debut, simply titled LP, came out in 2010. Featuring raw vocals and infectious choruses, the charm was undeniable, and while LP was rough around the edges, it had a certain inconsistent and sloppy charm to it. 3 years later, RVIVR returns with The Beauty Between, an improvement in every possible way. Slightly tighter and more focused yet still delightfully imperfect, RVIVR has put together their best material yet.

Just like LP, The Beauty Between begins with an instrumental opener that sets the tone for the album right away, building into a blistering pace. RVIVR wastes no time with the album's most infectious songs immediately, beginning with "LMD." Canino and Freas alternate vocals in this song, and they have an interesting dynamic together, raw and authentic. Canino is far from a talented vocalist, but his broken wails tend to lend some balance when paired with Freas, who gets her own song in "Spider Song," which also appeared on Freas' 2012 solo album, Belly. There's no question Freas is the more talented vocalist, a spectacular match for the band with the perfect amount of gruff and charm. The majority of The Beauty Between features Canino heavily, but there's a strong argument that it shouldn't, and "Spider Song" is evidence of that. Brilliant melodies and bounding charm provided by subtle guitar licks littered among the main song structure is a huge factor to RVIVR's appeal; what appears to be fairly basic pop-punk has a hidden depth to it that continues to reveal itself over multiple listens.

Canino steps back into the spotlight in "Old Dogs," a slower number that sounds like an homage to their darker counterpart Iron Chic, but the pace picks up right away with the blistering "Wrong Way/One Way" and "Big Lie." This is where RVIVR is at their best, slamming the tempo forward, passing off vocals back and forth, all along with outstanding song construction and songs that hold up after multiple listens, ones that take time to learn and embed themselves. "Big Lie" even manages to include a perfectly placed sax solo amongst the fury. The second half of The Beauty Between is decidedly slower, but still excellent thanks to wonderful guitar lines weaving in and out of one another, as evidenced on "Paper Thin" and "Ocean Song." Even when RVIVR takes it down a notch, songs remain captivating because of how well written they are. The three part "Hunger Suite" trio is strongest in part one ("Go away") but manages to finish well in part III. The record closes with a slow building and dramatic conclusion in "Party Song."

There's little to dislike about this record, and the qualms are minor. The album does feel a bit top heavy, with the strongest and most energetic tracks dominating the front half, while the back takes a more introspective and darker tone. Vocalist Erica Freas is a special talent and is underutilized, and while the dynamic her and Matt Canino have works well, one can't help but wonder if RVIVR would be better off handing her lead vocalist duties and scaling back Canino's role to a backup vocalist. When Canino sings alone, his imperfections are exposed, and it is often more of a distraction than not. The production on The Beauty Between is raw and dirty, completely free of polish or glitz. Good. It works well for this kind of pop-punk, earnest and pure. It makes The Beauty Between a less accessible album initially. The greatest albums are the ones you grow to love, and that is certainly true here as well. There's so much buried within this record that doesn't become clear until many listens. That's unique and admirable. This is already an excellent album that will only continue to get better as subtleties amongst the imperfections continue to reveal themselves. Don't be surprised to see this album rise to the top of many end of the year lists for fans of the genre.

RIYLLatterman, Iron Chic, Shorebirds, Dead Landlord, The Gateway District
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 18.
07:50 AM on 03/06/13
#2
we are cured
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Nice review and great band
08:27 AM on 03/06/13
#3
truthbetoldxx
http://www.milkshakes.bandcamp.c om
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This album rules
11:39 AM on 03/06/13
#4
JayDanielHammer
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I was wondering where the guy from Latterman went. Good record
12:32 PM on 03/06/13
#5
saddr weirdr
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I disagree with that last paragraph but, great review and great record.
12:33 PM on 03/06/13
#6
Eurotrash Drock
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gonna be one of the best albums of the year. someone on punknews stated that they thought erica's vocals were stronger too. i could not disagree more. while i enjoy the male/female vocal dynamics, her voice can be quite grating and seems forced at times, whereas matt's hooks and melodies (even back in the latterman days) carry the songs. he has one of the most perfect punk voices in my opinion.
02:30 PM on 03/06/13
#7
Scott Weber
Live Like a Legend
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I disagree with that last paragraph but, great review and great record.
what part? ha.
06:45 PM on 03/06/13
#8
Jason Tate
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Added to my need to listen to list!!
08:35 AM on 03/07/13
#9
saddr weirdr
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The part where you talk about how Erica should take over main vocal duties. I think the dual dynamic is one of the RVIVR’s best elements.
09:27 AM on 03/07/13
Scott Weber
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The part where you talk about how Erica should take over main vocal duties. I think the dual dynamic is one of the RVIVR’s best elements.
I love the dual stuff. I just don't love when Matt is alone.
09:51 AM on 03/07/13
saddr weirdr
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I love the dual stuff. I just don't love when Matt is alone.
He's a pretty sloppy singer technically, but I tend to gravitate towards sloppy vocals when it comes to this genre. I get where you're coming from though. I feel like his sloppiness is somewhat masked when he and Erica are singing together.
10:26 AM on 03/07/13
Scott Weber
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He's a pretty sloppy singer technically, but I tend to gravitate towards sloppy vocals when it comes to this genre. I get where you're coming from though. I feel like his sloppiness is somewhat masked when he and Erica are singing together.
hey, i like it sloppy too. it's just a bit too much sometimes. obviously i still love this record more than anything else so far this year.
08:50 PM on 03/08/13
mymusicismylife
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This is such a great record.
12:30 AM on 03/11/13
Steeeve Perry
Pushin' th' little daisies
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Great step up from the debut, which was underrated in its own right. So good to have these reviews for the "other" pop punk bands like these guys, Masked Intruder and others (Teenage Bottlerocket-type bands).
08:30 AM on 03/11/13
Scott Weber
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Great step up from the debut, which was underrated in its own right. So good to have these reviews for the "other" pop punk bands like these guys, Masked Intruder and others (Teenage Bottlerocket-type bands).
that's the whole reason I came back on staff!
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