If it’s true what the proverbial “they” say, that misery indeed loves company, then a helluva lot of folks stuck in the hurting and trying to psychoanalyze what went wrong cycle of failed romance will connect perfectly and painfully (but in a cathartic way) with German alt-rockers Riches of the Poor and their emotionally impactful debut album The Long Way Down.
Over a free flowing musical foundation of fits and starts, its lush dreamy atmospheres keenly interrupted by raw, intense crackling percussive rock energy, Philly born frontman Miky and his killer Euro quartet employ sparse, poetic lyrics to express a wide range of feelings from the darker realms of love and romance. With a couplet like “Now you’re waiting for my call/But I’d rather watch you fall,” the thrilling, edge of your seat opener “Behave” finds them taking the blame for a breakup, illuminating their doubt and self-criticism but in the end whining a bit but ultimately showing no remorse.
Offering a musical push and pull between Miky’s laid back soulful vocal passages and the blistering emphatic blasts of Daniel Segerberg’s guitar, “Please” – which they see as the most “Cure-like” song in their growing repertoire – finds them taking their share of the breakup blame, albeit with some incisive jibes that border on comical/whimsical - .i.e. maybe we should have more fun with the aftermath than our hearts usually let us.
Two of the tunes – the moody meditation turned blazing rocker “Anything Else,” the hypno-trippy shoegazer “Not Enough” - deliberately lyrically sparse (meaning, hard to dissect for deeper meaning) – which gives us a better opportunity to hear the punched out, transcendent glories of the band (which includes the agile rhythm section of bassist Simon Breth and drummer Ferdinand Hübner) free of specific song structure.
“Morning After” is the group’s most sonically perfect track in every way (from groove and atmosphere to mood and sensual flow). It’s also lyrically sparse but delightfully angst free, telling us, in inviting repetition, to “dream away” as the new day unfolds. The tune and the video mirror the metaphor of a sunrise - the perfect escape from the arduous task of processing pain and feelings and wondering how we get into such complicated situations in the first place.