Rock has arguably never been as alive with vitality as it is in 2020, with virtually every one of its many subgenres finding another life amidst a curious millennial generation. In that spirit, the world welcomes a newcomer act in Riches of the Poor this June that are more than worth all of the hype they’ve been attracting on the strength of their debut LP, The Long Way Down.
Containing an eight-song tracklist that doesn’t run over forty minutes (it’s actually less), The Long Way Down isn’t the most expansive debut I’ve ever heard in my life, and in some ways, it feels like a supersized EP more than it does an actual album, but don’t let its deceptive running time fool you – this is one loaded smorgasbord of sonic might for sure. Starting off with the stick of dynamite that is the combo-pack of “Behave” and “Please,” Riches of the Poor run through this tracklist like their lives depend on it, delivering the sort of urgency that is normally reserved for in-person performances exclusively. Simply put, this is a sincerely memorable effort I’d highly recommend to indie rockers everywhere.
The lead vocal is hauntingly brittle in “Behave,” “Not Enough” and “Needle,” and although there are other instances in which it steals the lion’s share of our affections for itself, these three tracks capture the different angles from which it comes at us better than any others on the album. There’s no debate as to whether or not Riches of the Poor have a diverse skillset they’re exhibiting with pride in The Long Way Down – that much is obvious even to the most novice of critics out there – and the fact that they went about it with as much discipline as they did is something to marvel at all on its own. The master mix is extremely tight, at times allowing for songs like “Again” and “Please” to feel even more suffocating than they already would have, but I wouldn’t chock up all of the effectiveness here to production bells and whistles at all. The psychedelic-tinged components of “Morning After” and “Anything Else” tell me that Riches of the Poor are a lot more abstract that basic cosmetics would ever solely account for, and theirs is a developing sound I’m desperate to hear more of soon.
While I only just recently heard about Riches of the Poor for the first time, I’m very excited to find out what they’re going to do with the model they’ve set up as their own in The Long Way Down. Strangely balladic in even its most blistering of moments, The Long Way Down is a picture window into the souls of a band that is more than ready for the primetime stage. It’s a rather black and white example of what experimentation can do for a group of otherwise straightforward alternative rockers, but if my gut is correct, it will be but the first of many hot studio cuts from Riches of the Poor to see widespread release in the 2020s.
by Bethany Page