Riothorse Royale’s The Guest House EP, (the LA based songstress duo made up of Madi Diaz and Emily Greene), is a seventeen-minutes-in-auditory-heaven kind of wonderful. Diaz and Greene take a lingering close-up of their unsettlingly pretty vocal harmonies, as though you’re being pulled under water, (willingly), by a pair of sirens. They inhabit a soundscape created somewhere between the tensions of lilting guitar and morose vocal storytelling. Setting the continuous ethereal tone, title track “The Guest House” opens the EP with twenty-five seconds of recorded rainfall after which their voices come in saying, “I am a guest house. I am human,” ending in a simple fade out back into the rain. It feels almost like recorded performance art, very theatrical in nature, but intentionally so.
The remaining four tracks are the meat and bones. “You’re Still Here” is an eerie and all too familiar trek into the ghostlike aftermath of romantic passion. Rooted in vocal call and response verses, (“I will forgive, liars lie, cheaters cheat, I can’t forget, even when I turn the other cheek”), and answered with a chorus of “I’m/You’re still here.” They end with posing the ultimate question, “Will I ever be free?” They pick it up with, “Get Out of My House,” a groovy guitar lickin’, mid-tempo ditty with more sensual, playful lyrics, even invoking a play on ring around the rosy in the second verse. “Rabbithole” is a conjuring of a childhood memory rooted in Alice in Wonderland storybook metaphor. And “I Don’t Want to Let Go” closes out the EP with their signature sparse guitar and vocal harmony formula of song making. It’s as cohesive as it is creepily comforting to give it a listen. Ultimately, they rely on the voice to carry the weight of their signature sound. It’s a very powerful and deliberate choice that makes for lullabies that will wake you up and rock you steady.
Riothorse Royale is currently on tour with Other Lives for the months of May and June and will support Eternal Summers at The Echo in Los Angeles on July 17.