Riverside - Song Waterfall Album One
"Consider memories. Well, am I ready for this? Consider everything, like a hedonist."
In the fall of 1992, I was attending college at Penn State’s Ogontz campus in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It was a fairly miserable time for me as I didn’t really know many people there…and my attempts to take a year off following my high school graduation were thwarted by my parents (whose roof I still lived under). Anyways, a lot of my time there is a blur but a few things stick out: one of the wild ducks that roamed the area stealing half of a turkey hoagie from out of my hand, getting caught singing “Born of Frustration” at the top of my lungs while walking from the train to campus, various crushes I had on classmates, and the above song from the criminally forgotten Riverside. Why? You see I spent a lot of time walking around listening to my headphones between classes, and mix tapes of the era invariably featured the jangly beauty of “Waterfall.” Its yearning lyrics really resonated with me as a young adult who was still trying to figure out who he was and what he wanted. The song is three and a half minutes of what Lush would call sweetness and light. Wonderful stuff that makes me feel as warm and nostalgic as a bowl of chicken soup on a rainy autumn night. Aww.
Hailing from the Philadelphia area, Riverside had a sound — a mixture of Ride and The Ocean Blue (fitting since that act’s keyboardist, Steve Lau, produced the group’s debut, One)— and Gap ad looks that should have made them 120 Minutes darlings. “Waterfall” did get a few spins on that show, but the band’s dreampop melodies were already out of vogue thanks to the flannel beast known as grunge that was then dominating MTV. And so Riverside was quickly forgotten. They still play the occasional show in the Philly area, and their self-released second album Taste is still available through their website.
Forgotten college rock beauty is still beauty though, so if you haven’t had the pleasure of checking out Riverside here’s your chance. - Bigfoot