The Riviera are an alternative electro-infused rock band from Manchester, whose sleek and immaculately produced songs are on a level playing field with the Two Door Cinema Club and The Whip. They are a brilliant band, whose intricate synths, jangly riffs and stomping beats makes them a powerhouse of sounds and perhaps Manchester’s best kept secret. Where Manchester has recently seen a revival of dark electronica music, The Riviera benchmark that new wave of Indie-disco rock which is industrial, playful and robust in equal measures. It’s music which is very now and moved on from generic electro pop to a fuse-box junction of textured tones coming at you from all directions. It’s sophisticated electronica, incorporating fragments from art-rock and 80s synth-pop. With Jon Upton on lead vocals/guitars, Josh Meenaghan on drum/ backing vocals, Mike Etherington on bass and Tom Kirby on guitar, The Riviera are purveyors of upbeat guitar-electronica and whose single “Where’s The Start” is my Summer Sizzler of the day.
With its pitter-patter and flurry of synths, “Where’s The Start” scurries at high velocity around the smooth vocals and staccato Television-esque and curving riffs. It’s a brilliant song, which highlights the sheer quality of Upton’s smooth vocals. Like a modern day Phil Oakey, Upton has the skill of being aloof and engaging simultaneously and whose baritone tones stand their ground against the distracting mayhem. Along with the electro bassline, shuffle drum beats and digital space-beats, “Where’s The Start” is steeped in retro electronica that broods against the trajectory of sounds. With an infectious chorus and disco-pop sensibility, all the seriousness of the lyrics is swept away into a celebratory spin.