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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


The trio have offered up some insight into each track!

Image: Samuel Kojo

Canadian folk trio Wild Rivers have today unveiled their sophomore album, Sidelines. If you're loving the release and want some insight into each song, we've got you covered! The band have treated MILKY, taking us through the EP track by track.

Speaking of the body of work as a whole, the trio share with MILKY: "A lot of these stories are about perspective, and a longing to be in a different place or time. Sometimes it’s hopeful or nostalgic, sometimes it’s painful. When you’re on the sidelines, you’re watching life go by, and maybe wishing you were wanting to play a different role. There’s a sense of detachment from the experience, which makes it challenging to be present in the moment. On the other hand, only time and space can offer a renewed context that’s otherwise difficult to see while you’re caught up in it. We’re all growing up and adjusting to adulthood, navigating new experiences and changing relationships. And we’ve literally been sidelined for a year to take it all in. In these songs, we’re making sense of it."


More or Less is about reflecting on moments of your life, some profound and some benign. We’re kind of flying over a vast world of memories and looking for the things that shaped us. The way that things seem to fall into place, or don’t. The impossible questions. The things that come and go. This is us trying to understand the world around us and our place in it, before eventually having to accept our ignorance. We have to let go of our need for control and let things happen. It’s kind of like a disclaimer at the beginning of the record: Before we ask some big questions here, let’s start off by saying we really don’t know what the hell is going on.


Bedrock is about the hard times. That feeling when every time you catch a lucky break, the rug gets pulled out from under you. Rock bottom, last straw. The song came out of a period of depression, something that can feel completely out of your control. Even after you check all of the boxes, practice mindfulness, drink 8 glasses of water a day, it can still rear its ugly head. This is the moment where you throw your hands up and give in to it. There’s a sense of relief in that, accepting it for what it is and being OK with being down. This song is like the catharsis that comes with that feeling.


This idea came out of getting an unexpected call from an ex-lover. Your conscious, mature brain might tell you that you’re over something, and then in a moment, you’re right back to the place you were before. It’s a frustrating feeling. You feel like you’re moving on as time passes and life happens, and then in one conversation, you’re back to square one. You have to accept that sometimes feelings stick around longer than you want them to. Long Time is an internal dialogue, “Stop kidding yourself. It’s gonna be a while.”


Stubborn Heart is like trying to get someone to crack a smile when they’re in a mood. If you could just get them to laugh, you could get over a fight. The tone is light, and a bit flippant. It’s poking fun at how silly it can be to be bogged down by an argument. We’re promising a sunny day after the storm. Musically and lyrically it feels like the lightest moment of the record, a counterbalance to some somber moments elsewhere.


This song came out of a conversation we had about how you could never trust the weather forecast. It was kind of a funny idea that led us to talk about all the things in life that we see as a certainty, and how rarely things are really like that. We talk a lot about making plans and a deep desire for control and certainty in your life. Not only is this futile, but it also completely takes you out of the present. It’s like that cliche, ‘life happens when you’re making other plans’. Weatherman is a reminder to ourselves to appreciate the moment, that we’re just right.


Amsterdam is the retelling of a friend’s breakup, who had big plans to move to Europe to be with her long-distance boyfriend. One day - out of nowhere - he called it off over the phone. I imagined all the things she had been looking forward to, and I started writing a song from her perspective. Your early 20s are such a hard transitional age - you’re coming out of your youth and strewn into the real world. It’s sink or swim. Oftentimes, you make plans and envision this reality that doesn’t pan out as you expected, and that type of devastation felt like a really raw and relatable emotion that I wanted to draw from.


Untouchable is about trying to keep hold of someone who is depressed and drifting away. It’s a promise that you’re going to be there through the tough times. And that

beyond the ups and downs in life, if you love someone, that’s an unconditional, unchangeable truth. It’s almost like a grounding exercise one might do during an anxious episode. You’re told to name tangible objects in the room around you to ground yourself to reality, but here we’re trying to distill everything down to the relationship and love you have.


Better When We’re Falling Apart is an ode to the toxic relationship. Everyone knows this couple, who’s always on the verge of a break up and claims to hate it. They almost thrive when they’re fighting and feed off of each other when they’re close to the edge. It made us think of examples of things that get better when they’re broken or precarious. Ripped jeans, ice cream running down your thumb (a favourite line on the record). There’s something addictive about this kind of reckless love.


Neon Stars was co-written with Caitlyn Smith and is like a longful daydream, nostalgia about young love. We’re at the same bar that holds a certain memory, and we’re flooded with visions of the past. It’s bittersweet, because there’s pain there, but there’s a lot of loving memories that you can appreciate after the passage of time. Memory is a funny thing, and it will always be an aberration from reality. But sometimes it just feels good to be sentimental.


Safe Flight is a final reflection after a relationship. After all the ups and downs, we’re looking at it from a distance, accepting and moving on. We use the analogy of a flight to talk about a failing relationship. It’s both the literal representation of long distance and a metaphor for the relationship, navigating our way through rough conditions. There’s a lot of aviation references, and it culminates into a final message to our lover. I’ll be OK, and I wish you all the best. Have a safe flight.

Side Lines is out now!


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