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Rival Sons: Feral Roots

Much like current darlings Greta Van Fleet have been compared to Led Zeppelin, the tag that's followed California's Rival Sons since the debut back in 2009 most closely aligns their sound to vintage Paul Rodgers and his bands Bad Company and Free. While lead vocalist Jay Buchanan is still a dead ringer for a young Rodgers, the band have really evolved their sound over the years, embracing fully the psychedelic sounds of the late '60s with the hard rock of the '70s to come up with a retro style that is just gloriously delightful. Here on Feral Roots, Rival Sons have created 11 ultra-memorable rockers that showcases all their powers, and might just be their most mature and polished effort yet.

Kicking off the album is Scott Holiday's fat, fuzz laden riffing which opens up "Do Your Worst", a catchy yet beefy number made even better thanks to Buchanan's sultry vocal and a can't miss chorus. The fuzzy guitar again emerges, alongside some spooky keys and Dave Beste's equally fat bass for "Sugar on the Bone", and drummer Michael Miley takes the lead on the blistering "Back in the Woods", a raucous rocker that brings to mind classic Grand Funk Railroad with its garage rock intensity, Jay once again putting on a vocal clinic throughout this kick ass tune. Folky, Zeppelin inspired "Look Away" is up next, mixing acoustic textures with bombastic blues rock, which leads into the bluesy, haunting title cut, acoustic & slide guitar from Holiday just mesmerizing every step of the way. Easily one of the highlights here. Scott probably learned a lot from the band touring with Black Sabbath a few years ago, as his riff on "Too Bad" would make Tony Iommi proud, while the slightly funky "Stood By Me" is a must for any fan of the Rolling Stones or The Faces, crisp guitar work, plenty of grooves, and a delightful vocal from Buchanan topping it all off. The back end of the album features the thumping blues rock of "Imperial Joy", the hazy, psychedelic pop of "All Directions" (kind of like a distant cousin to Zepp's "The Rain Song"...until it's frantic climax that is!), the hard driving rocker "End of Forever", and the album finale "Shooting Stars", a real Bad Company inspired blues/gospel number with fantastic vocals and guitar work.

As great as Hollow Bones is, this follow-up is even stronger. With Rival Sons now firmly planted on the Atlantic Records roster, their quest for world domination is within eyesight. An early contender for Album of 2019.

Track Listing
01. Do Your Worst
02. Sugar on the Bone
03. Back in the Woods
04. Look Away
05. Feral Roots
06. Too Bad
07. Stood By Me
08. Imperial Joy
09. All Directions
10. End of Forever
11. Shooting Stars

Added: February 3rd 2019
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1520
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Rival Sons: Feral Roots
Posted by Gary Halverson on 2019-03-10 23:09:28
My Score:

Fully agreed! I bought the album a couple of days ago and have run thru it about half a dozen times - it gets better with each listen. This is certainly a fine follow-up to Western Valkyrie, and much stronger than Hollow Bones which for me was a bit of a let down. Here's hoping that this is the album that brings the band some much deserved widespread attention. Will definitely be looking out for these guys on tour this summer.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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