Sound: Rival Sons' second full-length release, "Pressure & Time" (first full-length release with Earache Records) is a solid album full of riff-heavy blues rock, reminiscent of the heavier side of Led Zeppelin. The guitar tone is gritty and a close re-creation of the tone of a lot of the early 70's blues rock bands. At times the songs remind me of Led Zeppelin, Cream or The Rolling Stones. The guitarist's soloing style is more minimalistic than I like with blues rock, but it also is unique in style and interesting. The lyrics are delivered with a fairly healthy dose of reverb, strengthening their similarities with the blues rock bands of the 70's.
This was the first release I had caught by Rival Sons, so I did look them up. Rival Sons is a blues rock band based in Los Angeles, California. They formed in 2008 and self-released "Before The Fire" in 2009. They signed with Earache Records in 2011 and released the self-titled EP "Rival Sons" earlier this year. The release of "Pressure & Time" is their first full length release with their label. They've opened for Alice Cooper, Kid Rock and Judas Priest. The album clocks in at under 35 minutes, which seems odd as with their style of blues rock they could have used some instrumental interludes in a few of their songs and pushed their album to a more respectable length, and added a little value at the same time. Still a really solid album. // 7
Lyrics: The lyrics on "Pressure & Time" are typical for this style of blues rock, and delivered with a heaping spoonful of reverb. The opening verse to the title track is probably the best example of the album lyrics: "Give me only what I need, it doesn't take too much ro keep me satisfied. Down to work for my money and earn my keep, hunger's got a way to tame a man's pride." I can see the lyrics being at home in any blues rock song of the 70's.
The track "Gypsy Heart" and "White Noise" has standout lyrics to me as well, being possibly two of the better written songs lyrically and in vocal delivery. The vocalist, Jay Buchanan, seems to fit right into the music in both appearance and vocal ability and style. We're talking bout big mutton chop sideburns, stringy long hair, big belt buckle and half buttoned shirts. It is like he is living the stereotype of his musical genre. Still, the songwriting is solid, lyrics and delivery.
I was happy to hear the lyrics of "White Noise" because I agree with the sentiment - "There's a message coming to me on my TV screen, every time I try to turn it off. It tells me I'm inferior and incomplete, and I'm a fool for being satisfied with what I've got. White noise, white noise. Carrying the poison to the girls and boys." - You gotta love those lyrics. // 8
Overall Impression: While this album isn't my favorite album of 2011, if it comes on the radio then I will definitely be tapping my foot along with it and I will buy their next release to see what they come up with. I've noticed that each time I listen to this album I'm enjoying it a little more, and while I don't think it will get a permanent place on my mp3 player's playlist, it will probably enjoy 2 or 3 weeks on there. I believe my favorite song would have to be "Gypsy Heart", just because it really captures the spirit of blues rock musically and lyrically. I also like the title track and "White Noise" a lot. I think their sound would benefit from some more traditional guitar solos, more in the way of instrumental interludes and maybe a little less of the reverb with the vocals. // 7
- Brandon East (c) 2011