Sound — 10
Rival Sons' singer Jay Buchanan and guitarist Scott Holliday conjure visions of late '60s & early '70s rock gods to great effect on the fourth full length effort by the band. Vintage gear and an old school approach to writing their music together live in the studio gives them such a raw edge that consistently feels like it's on the verge of exploding. Their are visceral moments at every turn. Alternately boisterous and hauntingly foreboding "Great Western Valkyrie" grabs you from the first note to the last threatening to "take you to the sugar shack" with swirling Leslie speaker effects and thick creamy distorted guitars. The pulse of the band paves the way for their every move as drummer Michael Miley, who was previously in Veruca Salt and new bass player David Beste unflinchingly push Scott and Jay to greater heights with equal aplomb.
Lyrics — 10
The bands lyrics are perfectly suited for the music and Jay delivers them with such conviction that the combination of the two is elevated to another level. One listen to "Good Things" and you're hooked. "Good things will happen. Bad things will happen too." "Rich and the Poor" is a "hide your daughters" tale wrought with sexual tension. A picnic basket and braces lead to finding out where babies are made in this Romeo and Juliet meets Jack and Jill after dark rendezvous. The imagery is vivid and the images are memorable. From "a jar full of shine" to "a boy with a bomb in his pocket" they illuminate the darkest corners of their minds with a white hot light. Exercising their demons and calling attention to our own.
Overall Impression — 10
The music contained here on "Great Western Valkyrie" is an aural feast of the best that vintage classic rock has to offer. They've brought the "danger" back to rock 'n' roll with a passionate collection of viral songs. It's hard to say which cut is the best from one day to the next. Depending on your mood at the time, any one of these songs may feel closer to you than the next although, "Good Things" had such an instant hold on me that I would recommend it as the place to jump into this experience. Overall this is a very dark and haunting disc but, it's delivered with such authority that it elicits a cathartic effect on the listener. This CD stands up against any new music that's being produced today and walks hand in hand with the greats of the golden age of the genre. "Good Luck," "Good Things" and "Rich and the Poor" are all great places to peek under the hood of this muscle car. "Enjoy it right now, 'cause you never know when it's going to end."