The Swedish band Black River Delta is doing a very interesting mix of genres between rock and blues. They already have released two albums so far. On 4th June 2021, there will be a third one, Shakin’. Here are my thoughts.
Black River Delta – About The Artists
Black River are – depending on the source – described as an alternative rock or an alternative blues rock band. The band is originally from Bollnäs in Northern Sweden. The band consists of four members. The leader is Erik Jacobs (vocals , guitar). Other band members are Pontus Ohlsson (guitar, harmonica), Mans Lindblom (drums) and Josef Boding (bass). Their first major release has been the 2016 album Devil on the Loose, which received quite positive reviews and includes their likely most successful track so far, Follow You Down. As they released a second album two years later, Vol. II, Shakin’ is their third album so far.
Black River Delta – Shakin’ – Track by Track
The eleven song album lasts 44 minutes.
1. Burning and Burning
A dark mood, powerful guitar riffs – if you like country rock / Southern rock, you will likely feel in your musical comfort zone from the very beginning of Shakin’. The first song Burning and Burning is definitely leaving a (burning?) mark in the listener’s heart. Nice way to open the album.
2. Howling Back At You
The guitar sound as well as the groove of Howling Back At You is even closer to country music than the opener. Erik Jacobs is really howling back to the listener on this second. The chorus of the song makes me feel like a U2 song when Bono is going for hard hats and boots… Just don’t know why he would be howling… Some werewolves out there? I like it!
You see me wandering down the street and I’m shakin’ You got me climbing up these walls and now I’m breakin’ I cut my fingers to the bone and I’m bleeding out I come around
Again, Black River Delta do a characteristic – and fascinating – blend of sounds in the title track. There is the country/Southern accent in their music – but it also feels a bit like alternative rock. No howling this time – but applause from the reviewer – even though the song feels to escalate a bit too much to me towards its end.
4. Solitary Man
After these guitar riff festival, the guitars get deeper again, there is a stomping rhythm in the background and the guys take out the harmonica. Solitary Man is a lovely dark country track. Very nice different mood again – and a really nice listen.
5. Black Gold
The bass and the guitar give a nice blues rock groove from the very beginning of the song.
I go wherever it may go Black Gold got me in this control
With lyrics like this one or It’s the devil’s kiss that got a hold on me, the song again spreads a rather dark atmosphere over the album. The song is just catching you – again, it is working towards a dramatic climax at the end of the recording. This time, it stops right in time and does not feel to be come chaotic again.
6. 400 Hours
It’s been 400 hours since you left me on my own 400 hours since you left
A very melancholic song about a love suicide – as after these opening lyrics, there is very soon
I rest With a gun hole through my chest
I won’t tell you all the story, but the rather quiet, but the storytelling of this rather slow and quiet track is excellent. Absolutely recommend the listen.
7. California Sun
This section of the album is clearly going towards Black River Delta’s key genres, blues and rock. Again, the sound is a bit of alternative, California Sun is a song with full force compared to the intimate 400 Hours before. Nice song – which even has a bit of a psychedelic touch in the bridge.
8. Train Back Home
The eighth song, Train Back Home, is a lovely blues rocker. Just as you would expect blues rock to be. Made on point in Sweden.
9. Left My Heart In The City
The main riff theme, which is popping up in the background over the whole five minutes duration of the song and and the nice contrast between rather fluent and melodic parts as well as almost agressive, stomping licks, makes Left My Heart In The City a really enjoyable listen. Good one.
10. Midnight Train
I never waited on that train to roll back home – the second last song of the album is a lovely blend of blues and rock again. This one is rather a nice choice for the blues lovers. The song has a surprisingly soft bridge part which has a perfect blues feeling.
11. Now I Know
You liked the ten songs so far? Then the guys from Scandinavia give you a perfect blend in the bouncer of the album. Cool licks, great blues groove and the alternative rock feeling – Now I Know feels like a final presentation of their skills. Nice way to say goodbye.
Black River Delta – Shakin’ – Spotify
Here is Shakin’ on Spotify:
Black River Delta – Shakin’ – My View
That was fun! I am more and more getting into different styles of the blues – and Black River Delta just gave me a lovely signature blend of how they interpret the genre. The album got elements for a lot of kinds of music lovers – from blues fans to country and alternative rock. It’s cool, it is fun, it is full of skill, great stories (even though some of them feel quite familar) and very versatile set of songs . This one just can’t be bad – and it is not at all. Love it!
Black River Delta – Tour Dates
Getting a bit more optimistic – these are the first tour dates I share after the Covid-19 break: