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Viv & Riley Imaginary People Vinyl LP 2023

Cat no. DIRTLP0113

1. Kygers Hill
2. Sauvie Island
3. The General
4. Is It All Over
5. Imaginary People
6. Flashing Lights
7. How to Lose
8. Chance Creek
9. The Long Way
10. The Blackest Crow

A bittersweet nostalgia lies at the heart of 'Imaginary People', the new album from indie roots duo Viv & Riley. Over ten tracks, the pair applies an indie folk sheen to newly composed pop gems, a reworking of an ancient ballad, and even an original fiddle tune, deftly weaving together the old and new. In contrast to the sunny, lush production from Alex Bingham of Hiss Golden Messenger, the lyrics lean melancholic. "Kygers Hill" and "Sauvie Island" are both wistful odes to locales where these two young master musicians spent formative years developing a penchant for songwriting. "Is It All Over'' lampoons the futility of the billionaire space race through a darkly comedic vision of a future music industry, while the title track expounds on the "imaginary" versions of our idealized selves. Viv & Riley fittingly end the album with a droning take on the traditional Ozark tale "The Blackest Crow." Both musicians trace their original artistic inspiration to the deep roots music they learned in their youths on opposite sides of the country. The duo's continuing musical expansion is in part the fruition of their investment in the music scene of their new home of Durham, NC which is known for its cross-genre collaboration and creatively articulated roots music. However, the tracklist is still peppered with pedal steel and the rootsy fiddle and banjo trappings the pair employed to acclaim on their previous two releases. As much as 'Imaginary People' looks back to nostalgic yesteryears, it importantly marks the beginning of a new direction for these songwriting virtuosos.