Riovaz Delivers an Intoxicating Cocktail of House and Anti-Pop in 'Better Late Than Forever'
Riovaz is the very definition of a hidden gem. The New Jersey native is quietly amassing streams in the tens of millions, thanks largely in part to a penchant for dance-fueled flights of anti-pop whose infectious effect can be felt beyond the trending sound page of TikTok. While previous singles "Prom Night" and "I Feel Fantastic" both experienced their viral moments on the video-sharing platform, it is the rapidly rising artist's latest EP that presents his most cohesive vision yet.
On Better Late Than Forever, Riovaz lets himself run free, chasing the cathartic highs of dancefloor anti-pop before delving headfirst into the embrace of a stripped-back emo stunner. The aforementioned "I Feel Fantastic" is a clear standout on the EP, placing the New Jersey artist's longing lyrics atop an otherworldly house beat. The effect is instantaneously mesmerizing; think stumbling into an impromptu Omar Apollo set at a New York club at 3 a.m.
"God Save the Girl" and "The Rex" launch forward in similar fashion, presenting an intoxicating cocktail of anti-pop, house, and a genre-splintering melancholy that defies the surging undercurrent laid at its feet. The latter track, "The Rex," in particular makes no qualms about bringing Riovaz's love for dance music to the forefront, opening on a relentless beat that feels like it was made for the UK underground.
However, the greatest switch-up on Better Late Than Forever is found not in its dizzying dancefloor meditations but arrives in its closing moments. "My Youth" signals the culmination of Riovaz's latest effort not by seeking out an even more elusive high but by stripping everything away for a genuinely tender moment of reflection. It's a dramatic heel turn that in many ways feels like the B-side of what's come before. If the remainder of Better Late Than Forever is trying to escape your emotions in the thrall of the dancefloor, "My Youth" is the somber yet beautiful walk home at 4 a.m. as the sun peeks up just beyond the horizon.
Listen to Better Late Than Forever below: