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 last year's Pressure and Time, the Californians' third album is a riotous carnival of Zep-saluting riffs, sunkissed psychedelia and irresistible hooks, with the band's soul, funk and blues influences thrust joyously to the fore. Vocalist Jay Buchanan is a revelation: cocksure and sassy on the anthemic opener Keep on Swinging and the lascivious clatter of You Want To and achingly vulnerable on the languorous Jordan, he is a mesmerising presence throughout.
Rival SonsHead Down(Earache)Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars If it was easy to grab a few Led Zep licks, add a Bad Company-styled vocalist and ride to stardom on the crunchy blues rocking results, there would be more acts doing it successfully. Heck, even the Firm which featured Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers couldn’t pull it off. So give this West Coast quartet credit for honing its sound on this, the group’s third album, and receiving major love in the UK who typically supports this retro sound, not to mention getting props from Pagey himself for a job well done.To dismiss the Rival Sons for proudly flaunting their classic 70s rock roots which, in addition to Zepp and Bad Co.
California blues-rock quartet Rival Sons bemoan the lack of danger in today's rock & roll generation on their Facebook page, a slightly hypocritical viewpoint considering that their third studio album, Head Down, could have been recorded at any point over the last 40 years. However, their clichéd soundbites aside, there's much to enjoy on this typically ballsy and no-nonsense follow-up to 2011 breakthrough Pressure & Time. Led Zeppelin fans disappointed by their recent denials of a reunion could do worse than check out the blistering opener "Keep on Swinging" and raucous "You Want To" to get their fix of Page-inspired classic rock riffs and Plant-esque wails.
Honours half a century of classic rock with reverence and respect. Greg Moffitt 2012. L.A. 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..