The Red River: Little Songs about the Big Picture

RIYL: meandering music for the mumblecore crowd

The Red River is a band that hails from Long Beach, CA with eight members and counting. Their album, Little Songs about the Big Picture, was recorded over the course of three years in their hometown and consists of simple, introspective songs that examine the everyday occurrences in life. With a band so large, you’d expect there to be a big sound coming from this record. Instead, the Red River take a minimalist approach to their music, leaving you feeling like a solo record put together by one guy and a bunch of his friends.

Little Songs about the Big Picture is upbeat and has some really beautiful moments, such as the life-affirming, “I Will Give Thanks” and the reflective “Last Night We Made Tacos,” an acoustic number that sounds like it could have been made up on the spot. Overall, this album reminded me of watching a mumblecore movie. Like those microbudgeted features full of improv and incidental moments, on the surface Little Songs about the Big Picture seems to be just a sloppy, thrown-together collection of songs. But if you stick around until the end, and dig a little deeper into the record, you’ll find that there’s something quite moving about the music of the Red River.

Silly, poignant and communal, Little Songs About the Big Picture may not be perfect, but it does make the Red River a band to keep an eye on. (2010, Brave Records)

The Red River MySpace page