I love this time of year. I love the gems that show up when so many other outlets have already released their year-end lists. Rioghan is a name you might recognize from my Facebook page, as I’ve been sharing her music for over a year now. The time has come for her debut album, called Different Kinds of Losses, and it released today, December 9th.
Rioghan comes to us from Finland. She brings with her a wonderful lineup, too, namely: herself, Jenni Perämäki, on vocals, along with Teemu Liekkala on guitars, bass, keys, and sax; Valtteri Revonkorpi on drums; Marko Hautamäki on cello, and Tony Kaikkonen on harmonica. You will also hear Jonas Renkse of Katatonia on keys for one track, and Einar Solberg of Leprous on keys on another track.
The music here is a blend of several genres. The overall attitude is Gothic and alternative, and a pretty raw alternative at that. The music ranges from rock to metal, with elements of their progressive forms, and you’ll even hear bits of blues and a hefty dose of pop. For the most part, the music has edge when it needs edge, and space when it needs space.
You’ll sense that eclecticism throughout this album. You’ll see it in the production, even. The promo images are vastly different from one another, and even the cover art doesn’t seem to match. This is an oddball of a release in several ways, but what matters is that the music is rock solid and excellently performed. You’ll hear heavy, off kilter riffs right up against pop-inspired choruses, but also harsh vox from Jenni sometimes, and some very raw lyrics, too. It’s a mishmash, but every element is elevated, and nothing suffers.
Different Kinds of Losses is a direct reference to the song titles, which are about, you guessed it, various kinds of losses. That lends itself to the wide range of promo stills, as well. Anyways, each song therefore feels like its own thing with its own personality. They are all great. The four singles are a good example of the range: “Breath” is moody and mild, but it has a deep rhythmic personality that is addictive; “Sight” is a slow burn with an explosion of guitars and passion near the end; “Promises” sounds like an older Leprous tune with its funky riffs and spacious ambience in the second half, not to mention the harsh vox; and “Home” is a fluffy, beauty song with a driving chorus.
The following six tracks are all wonderful, too. I think the highlights for me are “Bruises”, “Time”, “Lights”, and “Summer”. “Bruises” is mostly an ambient song to begin with, but the raw alternative edge soon explodes within it; I love the chorus on this one. “Time” is a ballad and actually contains some whimsy and casual rhythm; I love the lyrics on this one. “Lights” is an interesting track; it slowly burns for over four minutes as it teeters on a the brink of shadow—the last few minutes have one of the best hooks on the album.
Finally, and without a doubt my favorite, is “Summer”. This is the exact kind of music I want to hear from Rioghan, honestly. It is atmospheric and tightly composed with a fantastic song structure. I love the clever lyrics, the expressive riffs, and the super catchy chorus. For some reason, I absolutely adore this closer.
Rioghan has debuted strongly. This collection of songs has all the nuance and space it requires to be something novel, but also the edge, attitude, and character to give us diverse flavors. The metallic portions don’t suffer and there are some seriously heavy moments, but the melodies and delicate keys stand their ground, too. This album betrays serious potential for the future of this artist.
Find Rioghan online: