Rios – “Morbid Love” / “Like The Tell Tale Heart” – Singles Review
Rios is getting a very large thumbs-up & firm nod of approval from the guy over here on this side of the screen & speakers, that much I’ll just be clear about upfront. I ain’t gonna lie to ya…being rooted in the ol’ independent music-scene, you never really know what’s gonna come at ya next quality-wise to begin with – and Rios is all DIY y’all…so naturally, that could go either way depending on the skillset, right? Then there’s the fact that I’ve always kept the doors open as wide as they could possibly be in terms of what comes through our pages as far as sound & style are concerned as well, which of course, adds another intense variable every time I open up my inbox or scan the internet for new music. This band right here…Rios…this is a perfect example of WHY you wanna keep your own ears open to the potential of hearing something different or new in a genre you might not even normally listen to…because you too might just stumble onto something as wildly addictive as what this one-man band is creating one day. Perhaps that’s right now…maybe you’re being introduced to Rios at this very moment, like I was myself only a short time ago through these two singles “Morbid Love” and “Like The Tell Tale Heart.” When I read that it was likely going to be some kind of Punk/Rockabilly crossover dealio…I’ll admit, that instantly had me feeling like pushing play was going to reveal something well outside my wheelhouse – but helllllllll no! I love every damn thing about these freakish jams right here – Rios has got the vibe.
As a person that at least pretends to be a writer in real life every day, obviously the Edgar Allen Poe reference in “Like The Tell Tale Heart” was something I noticed right away…so that put me more at ease. Mind you, I still hadn’t pushed play by this point…I was just poking into the notes scattered across my desk and checking out the Rios pages online & all that, to get a sense of what I was in-store for. I don’t always do that…there has to be a thread or something I can pull on that makes me wanna unravel a story – and that’s exactly what I found here. When I read about the inspiration behind “Morbid Love,” I pushed play so immediately, so fast, and so quick right afterwards that I damn near snapped my index finger at the middle of the joint – THAT is the level of interest Rios generated, even without having heard a single second’s worth of music yet. You wanna talk about a song that’s written about a TRUE LIFE story that is REAL confirmation that LOVE NEVER DIES? If that IS the case, this here Bud’s for you.
I was unfamiliar with the story of Carl Tanzler and the love of his life, Elena Hoyos – and believe me when I tell ya, the inspiration behind “Morbid Love” will definitely get your eyes poppin’ outta your skull. To sum it up briefly as I understand it, you’ve got Carl – a radiology tech, who ends up becoming obsessed with Elena as one of his patients…I mean…that’s putting it mildly – we’re talkin’ devotion to the damn day she dies and THEN some y’all. Buckle up for these gritty details – in the world according to Wikipedia, Carl goes and DIGS UP her CORPSE…not even freshly, but TWO YEARS AFTER THE FACT, and continues to live happily ever after with the said CORPSE of Elena Hoyos for SEVEN MORE YEARS. This is less than a century ago dear readers, dear friends…all this twisted tale wrapped up in the 1940s after the authorities finally got involved – can you BELIEVE this stuff? I couldn’t make this up if I freakin’ tried.
Anyhow. I suppose I’ve got a song to review here too right? You know what I always say around these parts…at least you regular readers do – all commentary is valid in some kind of strange way; the fact that Rios has got me so immersed in this entire realm of eeriness completely enhanced the experience. Some people just listen to music…I ain’t judging ya if that’s you – we’re on the same team. I just happen to ABSORB EVERY MORSEL that I can & every nugget of information I can find to keep ya entertained – and you’re welcome. All of these details were seriously key to really appreciating just how well written “Morbid Love” is – and I’ll be damned if this track doesn’t seriously JAM! For one dude doin’ it DIY, there’s not a doubt whatsoever about the capabilities of Rios – and as far as the Punk/Rockabilly crossover sound is concerned – good gravyboat lighthouse y’all – this WORKS BRILLIANTLY. Rios has put the creepiness you’d wanna hear in this haunting tale of love ever-after in the most literal sense – the words are perfectly suited for the theme, the performance is absolutely off-the-charts AWESOME, and the hooks are there from the very moment this whole song kicks into gear. You will find no complaints from yours truly over here about what I’m hearing – Rios is DIY, yes – but this is all-star execution to be proud of, and I mean that, genuinely, from production to performance. “Morbid Love” is gonna hold up STRONG throughout the years…as far as my ears are concerned, this is straight-up flawless – not only is it played with astonishing professionalism and a kickass punk attitude, but this is just 100% tight writing. There is personality ROCKING your speakers from the music to the microphone here, and moments of really clever dynamics on display, like the breakdown/guitar solo for example…the clarity is spectacular – and the same can be said of the mix on the vocals too…for a DIY dude, it’s all audibly second to none, and Rios would absolutely give any professional out there in the game a serious run for their money.
Admittedly, context always plays a role when you’re goin’ way in-depth into a listening experience, and having that story of Tanzler & Hoyos so fresh in my mind as I was listening to “Morbid Love” may have managed to bump my love for it just slightly above what I hear on “Like The Tell Tale Heart.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s a strong, single-worthy cut by every conceivable definition as well – I just felt like “Morbid Love” might have been more to it in tandem with the story, whereas “Like The Tell Tale Heart” was more along the lines of something that I’d have no problem turning on up & rock to. “Morbid Love” might have the edge in the uniqueness department, I suppose that’s what I’m saying…if we’re comparing these two tunes together that is, which kinda happens naturally when you get a pair at once. “Like The Tell Tale Heart” is still scorching HOT though y’all…don’t get these words of mine as twisted as these tunes are – I’m all about what I’m hearing & every bit as impressed with the performance & production of this second track. I’ll put it to ya this way, plain as day – I haven’t heard a single thing that I would remotely change – and I’d have to assume that if the ears on your face are functional, you’ll feel the same way. The addictive rant & energy that occurs in the chorus is killer, the guitars bend time & space around ya, and the drums keep this cut movin’ like this song has somewhere important to be by a very specific time – it’s ALL here; it’s a stellar hybrid that goes beyond the Punk/Rockabilly crossover to include even more, from straight Rock, to Psychedelic, to slight hints of a Surf sound influence bending its way into the mix, “Like A Tell Tale Heart” is a sonic smorgasbord that has enough energy to power your village for a year. Lyrically, it’s pretty much as equally grim, mischievous, and wicked as what you heard on “Morbid Love” as well…this dude clearly has no issues divin’ into the macabre & fiery depths of hell to keep ya listening.
Rios freakin’ ROCKS – that’s what I’m sayin’ here y’all.
You’re picking that up right?
Find out more about Rios from the official pages below!
Find out what we do at sleepingbagstudios, and be the next to be featured on our pages by clicking here!