The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world




JUNE 9 2014



Rivals Sons are certainly a Rockpit favourite, a band that manages to capture the essence of what a lot of modern music seems to be lacking these days without falling into the trap that most similar bands do and ending up sounding so desperately ‘retro’ that they slip into pastiche.


From the guitar and drum opening to ‘Electric Man’ and almost yodelled vocal we feel right at home: Rival Sons sound in fine form from the off, and ‘Electric Man’ is a great bluesy rock stomp that sets the scene beautifully before ‘Good Luck’ is upon us; all overflowing with sixties rock supergroup sonics, like the Small Faces were thrust into the modern day.


‘Secret’ falls over the guitar and cymbal crash intro to thrust forward a swaying melody and frenetic vocal like a medicine man imploring you to try his snake-oil; and I love the way the solo just starts out of nothing like the late guest at a party. It’s another song so drenched in blues you feel the weight of the world upon its shoulders. As a contrast ‘Play the Fool’ has a more immediate almost punk-like deconstructed Zeppelin riff and some luscious ‘space’ to inhabit. ‘Good Things’ adds a soulful frayed and tall ballad with a real laid back 60’s vibe. Half way in this is already looking like a classic Rival Sons release.


The second half of the album starts with first single, the stomping ‘Open My Eyes’ it’s a great classic rock song in the mould of bands like Free or The Black Crowes, with a great vocal by Jay Buchanan it’s the essence of the entire album: soulful, groove-filled sunshine-soaked blues that is so life-affirming it should be available on prescription.


‘Rich and the Poor’ again charts that sixties vibe, with a classic tale that you could imagine a rocked out Tom Jones tackling if he were fronting ‘Cream’!  


The final two tracks on the album are also the longest, starting with the mournful and powerful ballad ‘Where I’ve Been’ we are taken on a journey through heartbreak that soars before reaching back down to earth. Contrastingly ‘Destination On Course’ starts with huge guitar before falling back on sweet high vocals, then crashing like the waves all guitar and wails and heavenly choir to boot. It’s the sort of song that blows up your preconceptions of what this band might well become. It’s stunning in its Zepplinesque grandiosity.    


Four albums in Long Beach’s Rival Sons sound at their most complete. I have no doubt that this will be the release to really confirm their position as a serious Rock and Roll band, and long may they continue to make such sweet music.



by Mark Diggins