Riala’s Be Here Be There Is Fully Present

Riala is no stranger to angular riffs and brooding bass. The Kansas City trio blends together the shimmering beauty of lush sonic atmospheres, the absolutely crushing disjunctions of early aughts screamo, and the difficult math of dark jazz. And the band’s debut, Be Here Be There, shows their very best. Be Here Be There takes Riala’s already large sound and intensifies it, uncovering new depths and dimensions to the band’s music.

And to celebrate the album’s Friday release, Haymaker Records is putting on a record release party at Harling’s Upstairs. Joined by Jorge Arana Trio, the author and the illustrator, and DJ 5-htp, Riala is sure to put on a show that will give Be Here Be There the physical presence the record demands in every one of its champagne grooves.

Be Here Be There starts with the song “Aether”–the album’s de facto single. The song is a brooding homage to 2000′s screamo. The vocals waver somewhere between a snarl and howl as they recount a failed or failing relationship. The tension in the lyrical content and delivery is mirrored in the song’s instrumentals. “Aether” is a track stitched together from thousand discrete parts. The result is a song that refuses to sit still, despite the heaviness that floats at the edges of its sound. As a first track, “Aether” starts the album off powerfully, setting the bar high for the following material.

“Aether” spills effortless into the lighter “We Need More Land.” Whereas “Aether” had a paranoid and distressed tone, “We Need More Land” takes this energy and shifts it to a more positive feel. Although the track feels lighter and more jangling, “We Need More Land” stays taut and angular.

From there, the album moves into its longest, and darkest track, “Poseidon.” One of my favorite of the album, “Poseidon” is a slow boil, building its power through the constant layering of sonic waves. Jumping between sludge-laced drones and intricate picking pattern, the song builds and recedes, leaving its listener always wanting more.

The build and recede aesthetic works well to balance the album. Without the build, Be Here Be There wouldn’t have the arresting power it does, and without the recede the album would lack a tonal variance. Throughout Be Here Be There, Riala shows a perfect sense of timing–both in the sense of their constantly shifting time signatures and their ability to know when to press and when to pull back.

That said, this sense definitely makes Riala’s live shows enjoyable. Whereas some bands go into a performance to crush their audience with unrelenting barrages, Riala’s dynamic sound offers point and counterpoint to both their recorded material and their live act. Friday’s record release show is sure to please. It starts at 8:00pm and will feature fellow Haymaker act Jorge Arana Trio and fellow math rock gods the author and the illustrator. Be sure to catch this one and to grab a copy of Be Here Be There on gorgeous champagne vinyl.

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