Sporting a playful string melody, springy beats, and a gorgeous lead vocal, there’s no need for debate – the new single “To the River” is a terrific addition to Dorsten’s growing discography of ballads and folk/rock party-starters.
Though it’s got a level of balladic reticence, “To the River” has much too poppy an undertow to be an outright brooding, introspective number. Around every twist and turn that the grooves throw in our direction, Dorsten lay down some seriously powerful melodies, lacing together words and instrumentation as though the two elements were never meant to be kept apart in the first place. This track tries to be the perfect mix of pop youthfulness and folk pastoralism, and from where I sit, it checks off just enough boxes in both categories to qualify as a smart listen for fans of either genre. Those aren’t two of the easiest audiences to satisfy, but for this pair of aspiring stars (and real-life siblings), they’re making it look and sound all too simple in their latest studio dispatch.
The structure of this track features a great duality that I hadn’t previously noticed in the Dorsten discography before now. As we ascend with the duo towards the hook in the chorus there isn’t a lot of tension in the air around the lyrics, and yet the catharsis that comes at us from the other side of the following verse is like a breath of fresh air in an atmosphere that was once devoid of oxygen.
They’re straddling the beat in this song with surgical precision, but it never feels like they’re forcing the lyrics into the instrumental harmony – the exact opposite, in all actuality. The beat here is as contributive to the mood of the music as any of the words are, and while the production quality is undisputedly as radio-ready as it gets, producers were careful to avoid flossing over the natural folk grit in the master mix. That’s what gives this act their edge above the rest, and it’s something I want to hear in all of their upcoming material as well, regardless of how deep they wade into the indie rock music pool.
Dorsten breaks off one stellar addition to their sound in “To the River,” and even though it isn’t their first official single, it’s a track that I would recommend newcomers to their work take a look at before all others. This is a good measurement of where they’re at stylistically, but perhaps more important than that, “To the River” gives us a pretty decent idea about how far they can stretch the crossover labeling without tripping into overly familiar territory for those who keep up with this style of music in general.
To put it as simply as I can, if this is on par with what they’re planning on recording throughout their career, I expect to see their music winning over those in the media like myself a lot more than it already has from here on out. A lot of good music is coming out this October, but this is truly a cut above.