New Jersey octet River City Extension makes music I'm pretty much programmed to like--a combustible mix of folk, rock, and pop that revels in big choruses and gritty lyricism. So take that for what it's worth, but I'm fairly certain their full-length debut album, ...And The Unmistakable Man, is a great record despite any bias on my part. Having eight members in a band would suggest a lot going on, noise wise, and you get what you expect in that department. Thumping drums, crunchy guitars, blaring horns and more add to the record's energetic and often riotous nature, resulting in music that is consistently fun and thoroughly entertaining. Adding to the album's appeal is the fact that River City Extension isn't playing Americana rock by the numbers; songs rarely go where you'd expect and there's a wide array of styles on display over the lengthy 13 tracks, revealing a band with plenty of ideas and plenty of talent to carry them out.
Lead singer Sam Tacon's rough tenor fits perfectly amid the brass-heavy rock style, transitioning from a unhinged yelp to a smooth croon, often within one song. This is anything but a one man show, however, ...And the Unmistakable Man sounds like the work of eight tight-knit musicians working toward one glorious goal, and achieving it. Favorites of mine from the record include the tropically-tinged rocker "Something Salty, Something Sweet," the incredibly eclectic jam "Our New Intelligence," and the surprisingly sweet ballad "Today, I Feel Like I'm Evolving." River City Extension is a fantastic new band that absolutely should NOT be ignored--a must-listen for 2010.