Coming at us in waves of uneven rhythm that collide into one another to form something quite twisted and beautiful at the same time, there’s no stopping Riches of the Poor’s “Not Enough” once it gets started. One of the cornerstones of the band’s new album The Long Way Down, “Not Enough” attacks us with a spellbinding surrealism that gets stronger with each passing beat. Although steeped in the dark post-punk of 80’s goths, this track is sublimely sleek and beholden to no comparisons with old school sonic elements; this is a snapshot of who Riches of the Poor are, and it’s a fine one to say the least.
The guitars tend to dominate the mix throughout this record, but in my view, there’s nothing wrong with that. Considering the grand pummeling that everything from “Behave” and “Please” to “Needle” and “Again” contains in The Long Way Down, I can’t see anyone convincing Riches of the Poor that righteous riffing isn’t the best means of communicating their emotions to the world around them. They’ve got warmth and sheer strength where others are falling short, which definitely gives them a boost with puritan types this summer.
I noticed in my first sit-down with The Long Way Down that the bassline in “Anything Else,” “Please” and “Morning After” is a little subtle for the big picture, yet the music is as heavy as it gets outside of straight metal. In avoiding the temptation to source their beef from the same place that the competition would, Riches of the Poor are further distinguishing themselves from both the mainstream and an independent market that is becoming equally unfocused in recent times. These guys mean business, and that’s obvious even in the most cursory of listening sessions with The Long Way Down.
There’s an underlying progressive influence to “Again,” “Needle” and “Home,” the closing trio in the LP, which I would really like to hear Riches of the Poor explore a little more in their next album. Though there’s an argument to be made that they shouldn’t waste any time getting back into the studio, I wouldn’t rush things if I were this band. They’re onto something really good in The Long Way Down, and in my experience, it’s better to let the creative juices simmer in the wake of a release like this one than it is to get back into the swing of things ASAP.
One-part Placebo and another part The Cure, Riches of the Poor are a budding alternative juggernaut with a lot of potential to put it very mildly. I’ve been listening to a lot of experimental content out of the European underground in the last year, but this is a record that doesn’t ask nearly as much out of its audiences in exchange for aural wealth as some of the other LPs I’ve been reviewing in 2020 have. Riches of the Poor are the genuine article, and if that wasn’t known prior to now, it will be thanks to The Long Way Down.