Colorful landscapes and still-shots from vibrant live performances fill the screen upon pressing play on the new video for Mad River’s “Come As You Are” single, but the visuals are hardly the main attraction here. With a mightily melodic bend to every verse we hear (not to mention a swaying beat that could get anyone in the mood to dance), Mad River break off a stellar folk-rocker in “Come As You Are” that was designed to get the world in a good mood this season. When you’re working with the kind of natural charm that this group is, you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles – they’re rightly left on the sidelines altogether in this release. Muscle and heavenly harmonies are in high demand at the moment, and this is one band serving them up without hesitation.
As much as I love the lyrics here, the instrumental elements in “Come As You Are” are definitely the true chill-makers in this track. There’s so much understated attitude in the drums that conflicts with the supple presentation of the keys and occasionally rebellious sting of the guitars. Tension is everywhere we look, but chaos is never allowed to take hold of the rhythm here. Mad River apply the verses to the melodic underpinning delicately, but when the time is right (the chorus), no one holds back from laying into the hook with as much passion as they can muster. This group is devoted to their medium, and if that wasn’t clear to critics before, it should be now.
Those who need an aural mood booster this June really can’t afford to miss the new single/video combo from Mad River. Followers of the Canadian indie beat are already aware of how excellent a year it’s been for some of the country’s more unknown players, and though I hadn’t heard of this band before catching up with “Come As You Are,” I have a feeling this won’t be the lone occasion on which I review their material. They’re still in the development stage, but with the momentum they could create here, they’re going to have a lot more visibility as the year goes by.