The first track of Riala’s recently released debut album, Be Here | Be There, is immediately reminiscent of the kind of emotional math rock that made bands like Circa Survive so beloved. The vocals, passionate and echoing, mirror the strengths of the instrumentals and resonances that make this band so unique. Feeding my nostalgia for the sound, I dove in headfirst and listened as the track “Aether” gave way to “We Need More Land,” which led to my personal favorite track, “Poseidon.” This lengthy 7-minute song builds to an anthemic explosion of instrumentals around the 5-minute mark that will unavoidably cause some head-banging.
The rest of the 7-track album carries on with the band’s enjoyable mixture of atmospheric rock instrumentals (similar to Explosions in the Sky at some points) and the kind of shoegaze sounds that are impossible to sit still to. The eerily distorted track “Sun Blinks Out” melts into the final track “Captain (Dredge),” which is arguably the loudest in terms of intensity. It proves to be a perfect closer for this expressive album.
Riala consists of Nick Turner (guitar/vocals), Kalo Hoyle (bass guitar), and Morgan Greenwood (drums). The group met at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance and has joined their similar talents and interests to create this electric debut album. Be Here | Be There was recorded at Element Recording Studios where the album was engineered, mixed and mastered by Kansas City’s Joel Nanos, who has proven to be quite successful in various aspects of the music industry. Riala’s album as a whole is no exception to Nanos’ abilities. The album is incredibly moving and dark in all of the best ways. If given the opportunity to catch them live, do not miss out!
Lindsey is a writer who loves live shows, Reddit, and really good tacos.
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