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River City Extension: Impertinence And Unity

River City Extension is a group of eight people who couldn't decide what to play, so they opted to play everything. The Toms River, N.J., band's music has been described as everything from folk to calypso, but on its debut album, The Unmistakable Man, its serious ambition pays off.

The size of the group is a boon; its expansive compositions allow room for each instrument to gallivant all over and the various strands of passion to swell naturally at not-always-synchronized times. The boisterous "Something Salty, Something Sweet" isn't a perfectly packaged rock song with neatly tied-up ends, but it never loses focus even as it won't make up its mind. A powerful, cohesive theme is apparent through the orchestral waves, marked by a driving, punk-influenced beat.

The song jumps around amid horn solos, building vocals and delightfully nimble guitar, sticking the landing flawlessly before going out on deep strings. The words likewise match impertinence with unity: "Because the imagery you set / is always natural and sexy / I'd be nicer if you let me / but for now I think that I will tuck away." For River City Extension, somewhere among the saltiness and the sweetness lies of the best of all worlds.

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Afton Lorraine Woodward