River City Extension brings folk forward with new album



Nicole Aikens

Any album that opens with a sample from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy” speech is setting itself up for big things.

You expect something emotional. You expect something honest. You expect sorrow as well as beauty. These are all things you find on River City Extension’s latest album, “The Unmistakable Man.”

“The Unmistakable Man” was originally released in May 2010, but a vinyl release of the album came this January. Now, River City Extension is touring in support of the album.

The eight-piece band from New Jersey has that folk-alternative sound that is so popular right now (see: The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons). The majority of the songs on “The Unmistakable Man” have sections of bowed strings and horns, making the album sound like unmistakable folk.

But River City Extension doesn’t stick straight to those folk tendencies. In any one of the 13 songs on the album, there could be heavy rock and/or punk influences.

Go Download

“Today, I Feel Like I’m Evolving”

“Waiting In The Airport”

“If I Still Own a Bible”

“If I Still Own a Bible” goes a little more Southern rock. The lead singer, Joe Michelini, sounds similar to Dan Auerbach with his classic reverb sound reminiscent of The Black Keys. It is sounds like this and “Too Tired to Drink” that keep “The Unmistakable Man” from being placed in one specific genre.

Though the band has a few different sounds, they do it best when they do it folk. “Waiting In The Airport” is mostly straight vocals, guitar picking and a nice cello part. The simple accompaniment leaves all the room for Michelini to sing with full emotion such lyrics as, “I’ve settled into a feeling I hope never passes / I am afraid but I couldn’t admit that to you / The clocks are all sugar the minutes move like molasses / Putting holes in my teeth from the hope I’ve been chewing too long.”

“Today, I Feel Like I’m Evolving” is another song from the album where the vocals and lyrics are showcased. The song keeps with the album’s overall tone of growth and understanding with lines like, “I used to dream that I had cancer / Just so I knew how it felt / I still wonder now and then / But seeing the pain that it has dealt / Well I lost a friend of mine / Out in Arizona quite some time ago.”

Overall, “The Unmistakable Man” is a good listen for anyone with any interest in folk, punk and Southern rock. Every song may not be for everyone, but you’re sure to find something you will like.

River City Extension is playing at the Grog Shop Feb. 17 with Max Bemis of Say Anything. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 the day of the show.

Contact Nicole Aikens at [email protected].