When you sit down and read an interview about an up and coming band trying to break the music scene, you expect some jaw dropping statement of how they have reinvented music, or a violent, verbal, vendetta against everything and everyone.
With Spalding-based The Offshore Rivers, it’s different. In fact from interviewing lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Matthew Aylett about the band’s debut self-titled EP, you would be mistaken for thinking you were reading from a farming magazine.
“We grew very organically. We have a very organic sound,” Aylett confidently declares, referring to the band’s fusion of country and soul complementing the rock ‘n’ roll influences of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and The Band to create the unique sound on their five song EP.
Like many young bands, it was formed slowly: Aylett and drummer Dave Jackson found themselves hanging out more and more following the ending of the bands they were in.
“We were on each other’s wavelength and listened to music together,” said Aylett. “I showed him country and he showed me soul. From that we did a few home recordings together and always knew we were going to form a band, we were just looking for the right fit.”
That finally happened two years later with the addition of Andy Dilley on bass and Jack Johnson on lead guitar.
The idea for the first track on the EP, Rosemary, stems from Aylett’s time spent travelling through Australia in 2007 and his country influences are at their most evident in this track. It also highlights the harmonies that the band worked on a lot while recording the EP, self-funded and recorded in studios above a shop in Peterborough. This meant it had to take place through the night and around band members’ day jobs.
The lyrics of the second track, Ghosts, again draw on Aylett’s experiences and is, like the first track, a dreamy, peaceful country sound.
In contrast, the third track, Down, Down Down, starts with a thunderous trumpet solo and becomes a more dark and mysterious sound once the drums kick in, Aylett’s vocals stronger and more confident.
Again, it’s Aylett’s thoughts expressed in lyrics, influenced by Bob Dylan, Neil Young and American writer Jack Kerouac. He says: “Sometimes when you write, it just comes straight off the pen, and that’s particularly true with this song.”