Words by Bill San Antonio

When River City Extension singer and primary songwriter Joe Michelini was a boy, his mother would cite a Bible passage, from Ephesians 4:26 “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger”.

The passage stuck with Michelini, so much so that River City Extension named its second record after it. “I just knew it as this thing that my mom would always say, like, let the problems of the day be the problems of the day, move on, forgive people, forgive yourself, let it go”, he said in a press release. “I dedicated this record to my mom, because she’s taught me a lot about forgiveness, and this record has a lot to do with forgiveness.”

Thematically, Michelini often toils with forgiveness on the band’s sophomore offering, mostly to the skeletons in his own closet. In fact, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger may as well mirror St. Augustine’s Confessions, chronicling the mistakes of their authors’ pasts so that the future can truly be brighter, however uncertain that future may be.

Tracks like ‘Standing Outside A Southern Riot’, ‘The Ballad of Oregon’, ‘There and Back Again’, and Vanessa’s Song’ or ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger’ portray a regretful young man still finding his place in the world, mourning his mistakes while striving for redemption, always looking out at the horizon.

Fortunately, the future becomes a lot easier to face with trusted friends at your side. Standing beside Michelini’s redemption tales are the eclectic workings of the seven other members of River City Extension, layering each song with everything from mandolins, cellos and banjos to trumpet solos and the haunting sounds of children giggling.

Plenty happens sonically on Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger, though it never seems that way, as the tracks slowly build and breathe and stand alone as amoebic entities of folk-rock. ‘Point of Surrender’, for example, morphs into several distinct concoctions over its 3:50 duration, as the band experiments with haphazard industrial rhythms paired with James Ramirez’s clanging banjo, dueling guitar and piano soloing and finally a bar room singalong in which Michelini and vocalist Sam Tacon invite everyone else to join in and jam with them. The songs are both genre-defining and genre-altering, sad and hopeful, allowing the sun to set and a new day to rise.

River City Extension
“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger”
XOXO Records
© June 5th, 2012



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