These Wicked Rivers – ‘Force Of Nature’

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Fat Earth Records

Release Date – March 1st 2024

These Wicked Rivers are definitely one of the bands to watch. These guys fuse all the best bits from southern rock, blues and soul into their own identifiable sound. I’ve seen them live a few times and they never fail to deliver. Here we have their ‘difficult’ second album. If this was difficult then I’d like to see easy!

Kicking off with the title track which is a bluesy romp with some ‘woooah’s’ that are properly catchy things get heavier and meaner on ‘The Family’ with its stop/start riffery. They get the rock n roll on the fiery ‘Black Gold’ before the groove-heavy southern feel of ‘Testify’ has Hartwell showing his range. This is going to be a better live, no doubt.

Things come down to the moody atmospheric ‘When The War Was Won’ – conjuring images of the American Civil War – Arran Day is proving himself a fine guitarist who plays with a real touch and great feel. It’s big roll time on ‘The Riverboat Man’ with a huge riff and warm Hammond helping out over Hartwell’s masculine roar. The acoustic comes out on the bluegrass/country-flavoured ‘Just To Be A Man’ and another side of Hartwell’s voice. It’s dark, and cinematic and burns low and slow before Arran Day tears out an awesome solo.

‘Lord Knows’ brings a ton of fuzz and another heavy groove thanks to old ‘Thunderfingers’ Dale Tonks bass line then we get that churchy organ on ‘Don’t Pray For Me’ which brings some soul on a story of redemption – true story? The final track, ‘Lonely Road’ is a brooding country-picked acoustic ballad.

This is absolute quality. There’s not a bad track on this album, all the songs are so well written and executed that it’s hard to find a favourite. If this doesn’t propel These Wicked Rivers up the ladder, then there’s no justice. Everything is just right, the riffs, the grooves, the tempos, the vocals are all exactly right in each song.

Track List –

1 – Force Of Nature

2 – The Family

3 – Black Gold

4 – Testify

5 – When The War Is Won

6 – The Riverboat Man

7 – Just To Be A Man

8 – Lord Knows

9 – Don’t Pray For Me

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