by Michael Metivier

6 March 2007


Why do people say that two many cooks in the kitchen spoil the soup? I’d wager a guess, but people have been saying this long before Top Chef. In fact, it’s an Iranian proverb: “If there are two cooks in one house, the soup is either too salty or two cold.” I don’t know why this is, because you’d expect the quality control to be a bit higher than in a one-cook household.  Still, up-and-coming Chicago rockers Riviera bear this wisdom out somewhat on their third full-length, Capital. Three different singer/songwriter/guitarists fairly evenly share the duties across 12 tracks that in turn split the difference between Uncle Tupelo and Mudhoney. There are occasional songs that stand out: Derek Phillips’s cooing piano ballad “Everything You Know (Goes Away)”, and Josh Boisvert’s punchy “Ash Lane”, a gruffly effective alt-country stomper that is both the best display of Riveria’s potential, and a solid advertisement for what I’ll bet is a fairly exhilarating live show.  Still, too much of Capital either runs together or suffers from a lack of singular vision. Maybe it’s too easy with so many singers and writers to say, “hey man, that’s awesome”, when it might be better to heed another Iranian proverb: “In your neighbor’s soup there is always one fatty morsel.”



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