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SINGLE REVIEW: Down the Rivers by Severine

The second single from New Jersey born and European bred vocalist and songwriter Severine, “Down the Rivers”, builds on the success of her first single “Not Obsessed” and continues tantalizing listeners with hints of the excellence to come with the release of her upcoming debut EP. Rather than just being a talented and alluring singer, Severine is an accomplished musician and songwriter who has played with a number of bands before earnestly embarking on a solo career at last. Her American roots and European upbringing gives her music an unexpected flair. It is, in turns, entertaining and intense, passionate and playful. “Down the Rivers”, likewise, is invested with considerable soul while also reflecting avowed influences like Muse, Portishead, and Radiohead, but it reflects her interior world more vividly than anything else. Produced by Anthony “Rocky” Gallo and penned by Severine herself, “Down the Rivers” solidifies her claim as being one of the best performers and writers working their way up the ladder today.

The song’s muted beginning sets the stage for what’s to come. The spartan set up includes intermittent synth fills framing her emotive vocals and she loses her none of her emotive skill once the song begins in earnest. There’s no post production trickery applied to this voice – Severine sings with a wide open charisma and palpable range while still retaining a smoky ambiance surrounding her voice that, frankly, sounds beyond her years. Her songwriting deftly negotiates the frequent shifts in instrumentation and especially takes flight during the chorus. There’s little question that she knows how to construct a tune to make use of light and shadow; “Down the Rivers” has a dynamic power that underscores the lyrical drama.

Severine’s a fine writer in more ways than one. The personal nature of her writing doesn’t render the song’s experience obscure for listeners; instead, you may find yourself tangibly moved by the obvious vulnerability coming through in every minute of this track. It runs just a few seconds under three and a half minutes, but there’s a single-mindedness coming off this track that makes it seem even shorter and satisfying. There’s some conscious artistry here that’s definitely the hallmark of all great singers with the bookending of muted passages to open and close the track. It’s the sort of overall performance that suggests Severine entered the studio with the knowledge of what she wants to accomplish and the confidence to know she could pull it off. “Down the Rivers” is a glittering, electro tinged pop gem from word one and never experiences a dip in quality. It’s unquestionably pleasing to hear a performer debut on the scene as fully rounded as this because it promises anyone admiring the song that this is an artist whose great heights scaled are merely a prelude to mountains yet unclimbed. Rest assured – she will climb them all.

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by William Elgin

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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