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“To the River” by Dorsten

No matter how much the established pop scene might try, they’re never going to be able to shave the alternative Americana movement down to normal. Folk music isn’t something that can ever be contained or streamlined; it can’t be summed up in a simple review, nor can it be manufactured at the snap of a finger just so that a market share can be appeased just in time for the winter sales season.

Smart folk music has to be finessed, respected and treated right because at the end of the day, it’s a wild force just waiting to be given a sense of freedom. It’s passionate, at times volatile, and constantly evolving and adapting to its surroundings so that it can be a more brooding engine for art. Dorsten has harnessed their inner demons in the new song “To the River,” and anyone who isn’t prepared to get out of the way as it comes marching through the speakers like a hungry force is going to regret ever standing up to the brilliance that is coming from this sibling pair this autumn.

“To the River” is such a sophisticated folk song in structure that borders on progressive narratives in certain places. That said, Dorsten goes out of their way to make sure that whenever they start to follow a circular motion they immediately veer in a different direction to avoid repetitiveness. I don’t know how they managed to do it, but they’ve created a song that is easily palatable to a folk audience as well as the indie rock-worshipping crowd and it’s not a blatant hybrid.

This Arizona twosome didn’t just refute any notion of blending styles to fit into a certain category they’ve inadvertently created their own new trend – one which I can only hope their international peers end up following with a certain amount of devotion. There’s nothing wrong with movements when they help society get to a place we’ve been long overdue in reaching, and I’d say that the American folk revolution could very well be sparked by the shrapnel and fireworks left behind from “To the River” and everything it represents for its songwriters.

Dorsten’s work is just beginning to find its footing at this stage, and if you haven’t already heard the band play live, check out “To the River” to hear exactly what all the fuss is about. Unlike most situations in this business where the hype rarely matches the product that it surrounds, Dorsten is living up to some seriously high hopes and producing music that will be celebrated as some of the best coming out of their scene at the moment.

Their first album will be a great statement as to what we can expect from their future as a whole, and based on what I’ve heard here I’m quite confident it’s going to be amazing. I like where they’re going with this present look, and if there’s something to learn about their artistry here, it’s that they’re quite serious about melodicism itself.

Mindy McCall



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