Silverstein frontman shows softer side with “River Oaks”

Carl Schulz
Staff Writer

On January 21 2016, Silverstein front man; Shane Told, dropped a surprise solo EP under the alias “River Oaks” after hinting for some time on his podcast (Lead Singer Syndrome) that he would possibly dabble in a solo project in the future. The EP, which is self-titled, explores a much softer, peppier musical approach, which stands in contrast to his work in Silverstein.

This EP does draw a lot from Silverstein musically, with choruses that feel very reminiscent of the desperate, melodramatic post-hardcore choruses that the band employs. The three track EP features track one, “Let You Down”, the EP’s first (and only) single which feels most like a Silverstein B-side, weaving through driving choruses with a more radio-friendly sensibility similar to a much more up-tempo take on The Gaslight Anthem. Told’s lyrics are still rather dark and self-loathing, discussing hopelessness in the face of a romantic relationship taking a turn for the worse.

Still, he shows a penchant for composing catchy, memorable choruses. The EP’s second track, “Mistakes”, is a much slower track, which features Told crooning above only twanging guitar picking and strumming. The track clocks in at two and a half minutes, making it the shortest track on the EP. Told sings about regret in the face of a decision that jeopardizes his relationship with someone, and how he wishes he could reverse that error and how he will fight to right his wrong.

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The EP’s final track, “Roman Candle”, feels like a middle ground between the first two tracks, and is perhaps the greatest departure from his work in Silverstein, showing his dynamism as a songwriter. The strong finish to the song, complete with pounding drums and guitars, gives hope that Told will return with more music as River Oaks. This EP is a quick, yet explorative and impressive entry into his body of work as a musician, leaving listeners eager for more.

Rating: 7/10