If you’re listening to The River Jesters’ ‘Beautiful Mire’ for the first time, ready yourself to be cunningly welcomed in by danceable grooves, hooky riffs, well thought out melodies, as well as being hit with punchy snares, grunty guitar riffs and an indignant “Get f^#ked!” only two bars into the opening track. The uncompromising arrangements and solid, controlled playing of each instrument display that these attitude-fuelled musos knew exactly what kind of album they wanted to make and their role in making it. Lead singer Tom Batchelor gained a national TV profile in 2013 when he was a stand out performer on New Zealand’s X Factor and his edgy voice is the centrepoint of the album. From the Beatle-esque chord progressions and feel choices, like the quirky ¾ circus rock time signature in Dream Burlesque to Zeppelin-inspired squeaks that escape with Batchelor’s grungy vocals in the same track, these musical gems really keep the listener’s attention and show the band’s influences. Think a trifecta of The Doors, The Darkness, The Datsuns… The juxtaposition of imagery in the album’s name ‘Beautiful Mire’ (celebrating beauty in the clutches of a deadly swamp) is matched by mood changes throughout the album. Some songs momentarily show a softer side, dipping into slower tempos like on Follow Me Down that gradually climb up to thrashy epic-ness only to drop out again to a sparse, mellow outro, letting you into the many dimensions of the band’s dynamics.