Single of the Week: Lael Neale – I Am The River

by Craig Howieson

Photo credit: Alexandra Cabral

I Am The River may have been written in rural Virginia, but it sounds like it is emanating from a manhole cover somewhere in the heart of New York City. Neale relocated from Los Angeles to her family’s farm in 2020. You would have thought such a move would see her double down on the gorgeous reflective nature of her Sub-Pop debut, Acquainted With The Night, but instead it finds her bursting at the seams, ready to explore the exciting underbelly of some far off city when the sun’s light becomes a mere memory. 

The chug of guitar, rudimental drums and undercurrent of omnichord find Neale pogoing towards something resembling garage rock, minus the posturing. And, as always, there is a warmth to her delivery that invites everyone to share in her forays into the unknown.

There is a similar urgency held within I Am The River as is evident in the early output of The Strokes. Neale has no doubt immersed herself in the works of Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, but in combining both her own past output with that of her influences, she has created something invigorating and new. A track that trembles with the anticipation of the worlds we dream of when we are at our most remote. 

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