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Riva Starr – Hand In Hand album review

At first listen Riva Starr comes across as a slightly tilted Thievery Corporation. At times it sounds like its nothing but stock loops and yet at other times it sounds like the result of a severely experienced DJ who knows exactly how to control the vibe. When it hits these highs it sounds genuine and worthwhile just for how it makes you feel. The anachronistic instrumentation dials in a mix of 90’s alternative rock and 60’s soul. The influences don’t end there, however. There are plenty of points where a new influence will arise from the stew to stir the pot. Despite the variety nothing really comes across as out of place.

Hand In Hand brings the positive vibes full force, never more evident than the first track: “I’ve got a beating heart, life is the sweetest make believe.”. Played at a party, Hand In Hand would do well to bring all your buds together in a sweaty dance party. The atmosphere is maintained throughout although the spirit may change from track to track. Sometimes the tender love turns into down right sexiness. If you choose to play this at your next house party that locked bedroom is probably locked for a reason. Riva Starr is definitely channeling some free-love leftovers from days gone by.


Ultimately its not original, but it doesn’t have to be. There has been a void left by passing trends for good-time lovey dove-y feels could fill in a heartbeat. I’d imagine Riva Starr has a greeting for anybody privy to his private parties: “Welcome home, grab a wine spritzer and a spliff. We’re about to get lovely in this bitch.” Its definitely not for everyone. If you don’t have the good time posi feels in your head and your heart you wont find much but a fairly unoriginal DJ set. There is a missing piece to his art, and that is your ability to meet him halfway. “If depression don’t get ya, then the drugs will”. Awfully wise for what amounts to a dance party power plant. Its not often you’ll find this kind of positivity in the club scene.




By Keith Roberts

Keith is a writer, guitarist, and hobby producer out of the Greater Boston area.

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