Route 358’s music has a delightfully vintage sound to it, which, combined with their beautifully honest songwriting and emotional performances, makes for something that reaches out to you in a distinctly genuine way.
Lord Forgive Me is a stunning place to start. The initial crackle of the intro allows a simple melody and story-line to pour out in a smooth and captivating way. It’s a superb melody, building intensity from the offset and then pausing before offering the satisfying resolve at the end of each sentiment. The lyrics as well need to be compelling, poetic and passionate, in order for that melody to draw you in and keep you involved. That’s exactly what you get here, the song is inherently organic, but the effect of everything within is huge. The musicianship is wonderful, as are the vocal performances – the song connects with you and holds tight to your attention and affection with the simple strength of expressive, heartfelt songwriting and musical presentation.
Give Me A Reason emerges with a slightly brighter vibe than the opener, the female leading voice presents an alternative delivery that suits this somewhat longer, more-country-than-blues-like melody. The mood is uplifting here, the lyrics are directed at a significant other, less vague perhaps and more personal and intimate, which works well in contrast with the previous song.
Things get lighter still with the softly joyful tones of This Town Again, the performance is beautiful, the harmonies are flawless, the hook melody is perfect. The verse has a fairly familiar, nostalgic rhythm to it, leading tentatively up towards the chorus section. This is where the song really comes into its own. The hook is everything it needs to be, satisfying and additive in that you eagerly anticipate its return as the songs progresses. A definite highlight, brilliant songwriting.
Intoxicating takes on the classic country and folk-rock energy in a hypnotically rhythmic way. The way Route 358 craft their melodies is incredible, and this, combined with forever reflective, poetic and striking lyricism, makes for something you can return to again and again when the world’s mainstream compositions are failing to impress. This collection in its entirety is just wonderful, so simple in essence, but loaded with everything required to make it really shine brightly. The live sound gives you something incomparably real to experience. A live show would be sensational, music at its rawest and most mesmerising.
The band’s creative drive evolves a little further for Watch It Burn, the riffs, the rhythm, how connected every element is within. The pace of the music carries you away, though it’s far from manic, it’s an easy groove that accompanies the somewhat dark lyricism in a striking way. Then the project’s title track brings things to close, a moment that feels perhaps the most mainstream of the project – the song falls around you like gentle rain, assuming the role of the final scene in some inspiring film. The delicacy of this final song is immensely soothing, the vocal performance almost whispers the words to you, the chord progression slowly descends – as does the melody – the whole thing has a gorgeously calming and reflective aura to it.
Route 358 are a magnificent band, the music is so pure and yet so entrancing at every step. Their songwriting is at the top of its game, and the sheer and seemingly effortless high quality of this project makes for an unmissable playlist that will see you through so many evenings or long drives home. For those who are lucky enough to catch the band performing live, don’t sleep on the opportunity. Exceptional music.