A new release from Poland progressive band Riverside is always cause for interest and, hopefully, great expectations. Memories in My Head EP celebrates the tenth anniversary of the band (and return to North American distribution through label Laser's Edge). However, EP is probably not the best definition for this disc since it contains, in three songs, music equivalent to what some bands deliver on a full LP.
Memories in My Head is being called a return to the atmospheric, near space rock, of Riverside's Out of Myself, and this may be true. It's certainly a departure from 2009's rather average Anno Domini High Definition. As a whole, there's a movement from a moderate somber atmosphere to an increasing crescendo.
Goodbye Sweet Innocence offer melancholy atmosphere over a measured pace with ethereal guitar work and steady bass line. Living in the Past begins that progress to things heavier and dynamic. Beginning with a strong and continuing bass line it offers more airy and sharp fret work. This moves into a robust section where large riffs are matched to a Hammond sound, Floydish guitar style and, sometimes, a brisker pace. The last piece of this triad is easily heavier than the former two, following the conclusion of Living in the Past. Once more a very good bass line drives the arrangement and, against the previous release, Mariusz Duda's vocals are strong and clear (as they are throughout). In the first half, the song moves from somber to aggressive in a nearly minimalist motif. Midway the drifting melancholy returns thanks to the ethereal guitar work. To finish the guitar fades, then the bass, leaving only the electronic renderings of synthesizer. In a sense you end were you begin, and you wonder if Riverside is not channeling the spirit of Dark Side of the Moon.
Riverside's Memories in My Head is a welcome, intriguing, and entertaining work, fitting for the tenth anniversary of this fine band. Well recommended.