Reflectivore EP Review
(DULUTH, MINN) Reflectivore is from Duluth Minnesota. Formed by Allen Cragin and Ryan Rusch and recorded at Rusch’s The Weight Room (studio) in Washburn Wisconsin. This latest 6 song EP is entitled “Reflectivore.”
I sweat can hear influences from Blitzen Trapper, Beautiful Girls, Ash Grunwald, Xavier Rudd, Iron and Wine, or even some Perfect Circle, Radiohead and a dash of Tool. Lyrics inspired by ordinary experiences, nature, and an adventurous spirit round out an exceptional album released in 2015. While the deep soulful lyrics and impressive musical talent seem to reach far beyond. These guys years, an unmistakable and pulsating youthful energy permeates these songs. There is a certain fearlessness in the music, a diving in and pushing forward that reflect another side of this multi-talented young band.
The CD stars off with “Ticonderoga” which smooth harmonies, methodical Piano and Guitar via a silky rhythm section and a captivating vocal performance from Cragin. Being a professional event planner, I cannot get out of my head the idea that many tracks on this CD filling almost any function. All 6 songs on “Reflectivore” have an almost whimsical feel that makes the world seem right but there’s an underlying sense of hope that your future looks brighter than your past. Just when you think you got these guys pinned down you get blindsided by more songwriting depth and darkness. This leads us right into my favorite tracks on the CD “Organ Grinder” and “Black Holy.” It’s got more of an extended play stature and messages, still possessing a powerful style and grace. Not only is Cragin a capable singer/guitarist/songwriter, but I suspect his contribution to the writing and arrangements of all these songs is of paramount importance. He’s a marquee talent. Songwriting makes the difference. This is where true talent either flourishes or fails to show up. Here these 2 deliver the goods! Which is to say nothing of the pervasive and contagious chemistry they shares with each other. As a whole the band plays like a well oiled machine. I might add there are songs here for fans all across the US – not just the Mid-West. Indeed these guy aim to please new listeners as well as his songs are also placed in a near perfect arrangement – 6 solid pieces. Notable standouts for me are “Red Looking Glass”, “March” and full tilt “Organ Grinder.”
Criticism: The EP was recorded at The Weight Room, Washburn, WI and Engineered by Rusch/Cragin Mixed by Ryan Rusch. Mastered by Dave Hill at Inland Sea, Superior WI. It’s never a good idea to have the band involved in any of the 3 phases of engineering (Recording, Mixing, Mastering) as they are too close to the music and getting an outside perspective is the best approach for checks and balances when it comes to post production Not the best Mix I’ve ever heard. I give these 2 an A For effort C for final result.
The “Reflectivore” EP as a whole provides a wonderful acoustic unplugged setting and an earthy musical ambience straight from the heart. Another hit for me is “March” and I encourage you to check out the video below. Vinyl floor also reminds me the most of a combination of Linkin Park and a bit of Incubus. Any way you slice it – “Reflectivore” is one of the most intriguing EP’s I’ve heard in a long while.