Artist: Island Boy
Album: Basic Instincts
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Label: Rita Records
Summer wouldn’t be complete without the elusive perfect summer album. What makes the ideal summer album is hard to define, but it must be appropriate for relaxing by the pool as well as dancing your responsibilities away.
Above all, it must have that certain je ne sais quoi that just screams summer. San Diego native Richard Hunter-Rivera, who goes by the stage name Island Boy, may have done just that with his first full-length album release Basic Instincts.
This is no accident; Hunter-Rivera seems to have been crafting his unique gloomy tropical electro-pop sound his entire life. Originally born in the U.S., Hunter-Rivera moved to Italy at a young age, then to Puerto Rico in his adolescence until he ultimately returned to San Diego. This diverse blend of cultures and influences has made Hunter–Rivera a force to be reckoned with in the San Diego music scene.
Basic Instincts is like a vacation for your ears, even the candy blue and pink colors of the Hunter-Rivera’s bandcamp scream tropical paradise. The album sounds like something Devendra Banhart would record on tons of LSD. A perfect example of this is the album’s opening song “Hospital Bed”. The track starts with a bouncy Latin beat accompanied by Hunter-Rivera’s distant vocals, which jump from English to Spanish midway through with lyrics that roughly translate to, “dance with me white boy”.
Towards the end of the album, Hunter-Rivera simmers down with some classic island sounds on the track “16mm”. The song consists of infinitely repeating drum machine and keyboard loops that synch together to form a tune sweeter than some fruity drink served with a tiny umbrella.
Hunter-Rivera masterfully blends a cocktail of Caribbean flair, electronic weirdness, and the post-punk apathy on Basic Instincts that is delicious to the last drop. He manages to create fun atmospheric dance tunes with a subtle underlying layer of gloom that balance together to form something beyond the perfect summer album. What results is a diverse album that will carry you through your dreamy summer days well into your dreary fall afternoons.