Track Review: Calming River // Boats

The brainchild of underground folk guitarist Joshua Malcolm, Calming River is a solo project attacking the mind-numbing effects of mainstream commercial music. With a melancholic vibe, Joshua engages with his audience to showcase his depth, eclecticism and sincerity. Influenced by his experiences as a traveller throughout Europe, this talented singer-songwriter has taken his abstract sound to the UK. After a hiatus of several years, Calming River is turning heads with features in The Other Side Reviews, RGM and Indie Top 39. The latest addition to his discography is the single ‘Boats’.



Using his distinctive finger-picking style, Joshua’s acoustic guitar melds with percussion resulting in a flowing melody. Yet, while the instrumentation does have a harmonic sound, ‘Boats’ also presents a sense of distortion and bewilderment in the melody. It is this contrary arrangement that increases the depth, poignancy and darkness of the single.

While the melody itself is a complex interweaving of contrasting styles, it is the melancholic vocals that enhance the profundity of ‘Boats’. Meandering through a dark state of human emotion, Joshua looks at insecurity, anxiety, loss and confusion. A bit shifty and prickly at times, ‘Boats’ finds that delicate balance between wistful ambience and heart-rendering consciousness.

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