When Rivers Meet: Aces Are High Review

With two critically acclaimed LPs and a shoal of accolades safely tucked away under the riverbed, both expectations and Aces Are High as I shuffle the latest deck from an irrefutable ace in the blue-rock pack. When Rivers Meet is the bluesy Americana sound of husband-and-wife duo Aaron and Grace Bond, but their latest work, set to be released October 13, sees them plunge into the dusky, grittier, and harder edge of the reef.

While this LP has more extremes with delicate moments like the reflective, campfire warmth of “Golden” and beautifully stripped-back love song duet “By Your Side,” it’s the newly unleashed power that shows the band can hit just as hard with the gloves off. As the duo themselves admitted: “Before we held back on being too rocky, but this time we allowed ourselves to create what we wanted to hear, without restricting ourselves.”

There’s no attempts at a bluff with opener “Infected” contaminated by a grungy guitar riff that transmits into the rich vocal harmonies of the chorus — the latter an art they have down to a fine tee. “Seen It All Before” is slow and smoky with its haunted feel, thunderous drum beat, and Grace’s smoldering voice. An incredibly unique song in their arsenal, it’s somehow dark yet delirious, solemnized by an overcast of thunder claps.

First single “Play My Game” is already showing its hand at live shows, leaving audiences feeling flush. It deals heavily with its raw six-string sound, scorching guitar licks, and soul-searing vocals, capturing a poker game gone south that results in a high-speed car chase and audacious airplane escape. 

The fuzzed-up title track keeps on rolling the heavy dice, starting with a deep slithering riff and cagey vocal, before Grace raises the stakes for the grandiose chorus. “Perfect Stranger” is the autobiographical second single depicting the pair’s intense and creative relationship. It’s another powerful track, punctuated by some tidy drum work, wonderfully resonant guitars, and red-hot pipes, rounded off by an impassioned outro. 

Clocking off at the mighty “5 Minutes Until Midnight”, this up-tempo anthem strikes with a gritty, irresistible riff and solid percussion, fittingly ending the album with a hefty rocky tick-tock.    

Well, who would have thought it? When Rivers Meet had an ace up their sleeve all along. No need to shuffle — this is living proof the Bonds can break through any dam and rock as hard as the rest of the pack.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Seen It All Before
– Play My Game
– 5 Minutes Until Midnight

The Big Hit

– Seen It All Before

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