As is apparently the way, the great catch-up regarding UK underground releases continues. Riviera Kid released Stay Positive in this here 2020 via Back From The Dead Records this past May. This time around, the band are but a two-person outfit and the aforementioned Stay Positive is the latest of their brand Hardcore Punk traversing more than just the token aggression. Now, if you’re new to the band, then you can find a review of their first release – Here.
The Margate two-piece open upon their inherent and grooved-Hardcore grit. ‘Make A Change’ is enveloped in a foreboding, intimidating attitude leaning on the heavy-set Hardcore stylings of the East Coast US but only as far as required. Riviera Kid are now populated by a lone, rogue guitar above the equally heavy-set drumming and the change is more than a sound. With drummer Dan performing as is his energetic norm and contributing to the welcome vocal interplay, Riviera Kid out-do any loss resulting from their three-to-two cut. The band, from 0:20, merge this Hardcore-inclination with spasmodic, gratuitously aggressive Post-Hardcore laden with he usual quirks to contrast this repurposed Hardcore rage. This new variation is befitting of its accompanying lyrical tale of disdain-fuelled forward-thinking.
The band’s first EP straddled Hardcore thrice. The more “traditional” wings of the various scenes were playfully tributed but so were latter timeline Melodic and Post-Hardcore. With this in mind, Stay Positive, even but two tracks in, furthers the aforementioned Post-Hardcore-prong more so. ‘Sertraline’ dependently denotes to exactly what you think it does alongside a clever tribute to the band’s first EP. Track two boasts raucous mid-paced early Hardcore Punk on the left and a slight Post-Hardcore conditioning on the right. ‘Sertraline’ and its less complex approach not only ironically eases it’s uneasy point across but injects welcome variety into the cramped five-track limit.
Mental health, if it wasn’t already obvious with ‘Sertraline’, is a theme intrinsic to both Riviera Kid and Stay Positive. Sonically, ‘Effy’ begins to show the stark dichotomy yet occasional crossovers of Riviera Kid’s chosen Hardcore and Post-Hardcore. It’s Not A Matter of A or B was held together with an adhesive yet flexible layer of Melodic Hardcore, but this new hardware version running this new software version, at the mid-point at least, is arguably lacking. Is this a criticism? Perhaps, but then perhaps not. ‘Effy’, post-Spoken Word, is a classically-aligned Hardcore Punk display with just enough of what came next.
My reaction when writing reviews is one of sequential chronology and through this, it seems that ‘Do Something’ heard me. The penultimate number retreats between the uneasy, uneven, pitched-battle relationship of the band’s approach thus far and does indeed finally embody much of the Melodic Hardcore-ism of the band’s previous work. ‘Do Something’ is an emphatically determined battle-cry and its rounded Melodic Hardcore is not only a welcome deviation but an unambiguous highlight.
Stay Positive is, despite its lesser personnel, a refined effort. The band’s charming dirge is still present but this time relative to the newer format. The releases’ level of clarity is just as intentional as the previous and thus warrants no worthwhile critique. Stay Positive is supplemented throughout with guest vocal-chords and along with the mainline vocal interplay, is crucial to this second RK effort. Is this second effort at all better than its predecessor? That, my fellow sonically-dependent ears, is a tough one.
But why? Well, both the band’s releases are fitting to each other despite line-up and notable sonic differentiation. Stay Positive closes with the single ‘Casual Racism’. The tracklisting of Stay Positive is to be commended here. The band openly push their newer selves first and then slowly ebb into tributes to their past and then onward to an intrinsic blend of the two. ‘Casual Racism’ visits stripped-down Melodic Hardcore yet again and is unquestionably the correct choice to end this release on.
Riviera Kid and Stay Positive tribute to the abject chaos of their debut, supplementing it with fresher and more refined parameters. The band have taken the overt-raucousness of early Hardcore Punk and merged it with the creative legacy of Dischord Post-Hardcore while being skillfully mindful their contemporary existence. Find it now via the band and Back From The Dead Records.
- Back From The Dead Records: