There were few albums that I was looking forward to this year as much as I was for Greenleaf. Only a little over two years ago, this band released one of my absolute favorite records of the year and I still love that entire album from top to bottom and have played it countless time. Now, it was time to see if Greenleaf would be able to successfully follow-up the grandeur that is “Rise Above the Meadow” with “Hear the Rivers”. The answer? A resounding fuck yeah!
Whenever I try to do a write-up for any piece of music I do my best to find the things that I enjoy most about the record and then the stuff I don’t like as a balanced view is a healthy one I feel. But listening to “Hear the Rivers” for the small time of a straight 16 hours, I still find it an immense joy to say that Greenleaf has created yet another immaculate, inscrutable piece of stoner rock that is nothing but fuel for the day and a true display of top-tier quality and musicianship. The formula and sound from the previous effort are more or less the same, except how Greenleaf made “Hear the Rivers” feel ever so slightly more energetic and bombastic, and you can really feel that all throughout the record! Not a single track is devoid of great power be it an intoxicating anthem, trippy solo, tantalizing rhythms, or the fluidity of it all. Quite literally everything about this record is handcrafted with the utmost care with only the best of the best that has ever been done in stoner rock going into “Hear the Rivers”, and it’s the exact kind of stuff that always puts a smile on my face and makes my foot tap.
There’s nothing boring about this record and I find that to be the most awesome factor about these ten tracks as it’s very easy to lose the listener’s attention, but it’s with the highest levels of quality and sheer energy that Greenleaf brings to the table to that keeps this 46-minute experience one of the best of the year by far. Sure, it’d be fair to point out that listening to this record practically all day might wear the album down on me, and the vast majority of the time you’d be correct! But there’s an infectious and satisfying nature with “Hear the Rivers” that never tires me out. Whether it’s the range in sound we see in tracks like “A Point of A Secret”, great anthems worthy of stoner rock legend like “Good Ol’Goat”, long and trippy experiences like “The Rivers Lullaby”, or the downright enticing sound of every track with “In the Caverns Below” my personal favorite, Greenleaf has easily created one of the most well-rounded and hard-hitting records of the genre that we’ve gotten all year. Each track brings a unique experience with familiar flavors with the album’s progression bringing even more excellence that only pulls you further into the enchanted delta that Greenleaf has formed with “Hear the Rivers” where the very sound of the water is beckoning you in.
I can see it now with many people talking about the likes of Spaceslug or King Buffalo as being the pinnacles of the year for stoner rock (and those are really good as well!), but I will happily stand as the sole representer for “Hear the Rivers” as the best record of its genre that we’ve gotten in 2018. I try not to let my initial expectations cloud my judgment when I type these for you all, but Greenleaf has simply blown me away yet again that I still can’t help but rave over the excellence that is on full display with this set of undeniable stoner greatness.
LISTEN to the singles from “Hear the Rivers” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Greenleaf on Facebook here.