River Whyless take your standard folk rock formula (guitar, bass, drums, add violin for coloring) and breathe new life into it. Their pastoral ramblings are littered with beatific harmonies and soulful deep-cutting lyricism. Similar to The Head and the Heart, River Whyless' violinist Halli Anderson is the group's wildcard - busting out her soul-stirring alto at the most sincerely affecting moments. Yet, River Whyless aren't in much need of a wildcard, they're a cast of intensely talented musicians with a knack for stellar arrangements that aim right for the heart (prominently displayed in 8 minutes album closer "YU").
A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door is a remarkably strong debut - filled with scores of powerful, engaging works that you'll have a hard time putting down. Like some of the best albums, the whole album works cohesively - building on themes of love, loss, and helplessness. At it's best moments, A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door plays like an sprawling epic with each song contributing greatly to it's humble yet grandiose spectrum without losing accessibility. River Whyless prove themselves highly capable of crafting an album and a great one at that. A surefire favorite and serious contender for album of the year.
Listen to River Whyless' A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door on Bandcamp where you can name your price and make sure to pick up the physical edition on March 1st.