RIVAL SONS – Head Down (2012)
The Long Beach, California, quartet RIVAL SONS made a big splash in 2011 with their breakthrough album ‘Pressure & Time’. It put the rest of the retro-rock scene on notice: rehash the past all you want, but we’re the future.
And with their brand new album “Head Down”, they’re here to prove it.
Precious few revivalists possess that old black magic to set them apart. But to a fusion of the Classic Hard Rock and progressive blues of the seventies, genuine soul and a gutsy groove, Rival Sons add the real X Factor: great, great songs.
Such an obvious ingredient, but it’s amazing how many others miss it.
Recorded in Nashville with Grammy-nominated producer Dave Cobb and Grammy-winning engineer Vance Powell, “Head Down” takes the band’s electrifying blend of Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Free, Deep Purple, The Doors and a dozen others to exhilarating new heights.
Kick the door in, take no prisoners, ask no questions, play it loud; as plans go, it’s hard to fault.
Opener “Keep On Swinging” pretty much sums it up: big, bold, swaggering and totally badass, it sets the tone for an album which raises the bar across the board.
The breezy “Wild Animal” and “Until the Sun Comes” contrast nicely with the raunchiness of “All The Way” and “Three Fingers”, themselves preludes to the sheer girth of “You Want To” – which recalls Zep at their raucous best – and the mighty “Manifest Destiny Pt. 1”, a shadowy, smouldering epic that broods like a black hole.
Although the required ballads aren’t the group’s strong suit, both “Jordan” and “True” are carried off with confidence and without resorting to slush or schmaltz. Actually, these are superb slow tunes.
Both as performers and songwriters Rival Sons have upped their game, and “Head Down” puts them well ahead of the pack.
It takes a degree of skill to make music that ticks all the Classic Rock boxes without sounding like a shameless exercise in nostalgia, but despite impeccable retro credentials, Rival Sons are doggedly establishing themselves as a vital force for the modern age, too.
A more adventurous beast than the previous album, “Head Down” is a riotous carnival of classic-saluting riffs, sunkissed psychedelia and irresistible hooks, with the band’s soul, funk and blues influences thrust joyously to the fore.
“Head Down” honours half a century of Classic (Hard) Rock with reverence, respect and the realisation that this music’s still happening, right now.
01 – Keep On Swinging
02 – Wild Animal
03 – You Want To
04 – Until The Sun Comes
05 – Run From Revelation
06 – Jordan
07 – All The Way
08 – The Heist
09 – Three Fingers
10 – Nava
11 – Manifest Destiny (Pt. 1)
12 – Manifest Destiny (Pt. 2)
13 – True
Jay Buchanan (vocals)
Scott Holiday (guitars)
Robin Everhart (bass)
Michael Miley (drums)
BUY IT !