“Wide Eyes,” the sunny new single released today by West Palm indie rockers Rivers, is a sign of maturity, says singer/songwriter/guitarist Danny Brunjes. “The first EP we were throwing as many darts as we could and waited to see what hit. Our songwriting evolution has taken a stronger form.”
The four-piece — consisting of Brunjes, drummer Jon Wagner, bassist Brent Ray, and guitarist Eric Blythe — are longtime buddies who released that first self-titled EP last year. Rivers is currently in the process of mixing its second EP. “We recorded it in our homes, and we thought they would just be demos, but once we went through the process, we thought they sounded really good.”
The first evidence of that quality is “Wide Eyes,” which on Tuesday will not only be available on iTunes and to stream but will also have an accompanying lyric video to go along with it.
"Wide Eyes" is a relentlessly catchy summer melody that feels, at times, almost melancholy but has a sweet message at its center.
“It’s about trying to get to that place where you treat the people you care about the way you should,” explained Brunjes. “The last year — creatively and in life — I’ve been figuring out how to be good in relationships. It’s unnatural not to be selfish. The song is about realizing I’m not the person I want to be, but I’m getting there.”
When asked if it was about a relationship with anyone in particular, Brunjes admitted it was about his wife, who appreciated the sentiment. “She digs it. It’s meaningful to her. She thinks it’s a catchy tune, and I’ve heard her singing it around the house.”
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And there's no doubt others will join her in singing along.
"Wide Eyes" hardly feels like an embryonic attempt from a group of rookies. If Rivers' first EP was an exploratory jaunt through a forest of sound, ranging from trap to indie-pop, this track is a clear and fully formed specimen from a band that knows who it is and what it wants to say. With an effort this impressive so early in its lifespan, Rivers may soon be following in the footsteps of other West Palm Beach acts like Raggy Monster and Surfer Blood.
You will have your chance to sing along at Respectable Street on May 21 when Rivers stops by the venue. The band will perform new songs along with some of its older ones. “It will be a swell time,” Brunjes promises. “Hopefully people will come and dance and party.”
Rivers. 11 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Ages 21 and over. No cover. Visit Facebook for more info.