Contrasting the electro-tinged pop which seems to dominate the pop charts these days, there is a small undercurrent of classic rock bands which are hoping to keep it real. The Dead Weather have been a high-profile example of this, alongside Wolfmother; and now with the return of The Darkness, the demand for a “proper” rock band is clearly high. Perhaps then it is time for LA-based rock band Rival Sons to shine through.
Pressure and Time is the band’s début album on a label (the group self-released an album in 2009), and fits with the California cliché of care-free, sun-drenched rock and roll with screechy, soulful vocals. Rival Sons are placed firmly, perhaps pigeon-holed in the genre of classic rock, having performed with Alice Cooper and Judas Priest. The challenge for their début then is to be able to pull off the classic rock genre without being labelled as a “nostalgia act”. Opener All Over The Road is stompy and vivacious, setting the tone for the rest of the album, boasting Jay Buchanan’s bluesy vocals.
Rival Sons really start to get into their groove on the second track, as the Animals-esque ‘Young Love’ bounces its way into your brain. It features the distorted riffs characteristic of the genre, and rides a funky bassline. With lyrics in the chorus not extending further than “Yeah-eah-eah-oh-no”, it is clear that there is no deep meaning behind this album, just unashamed pure rock and rock and roll (not to say that rock and roll and poetry cannot be brought together).
There are a few mellow songs on this album – if not just to stop your brain exploding from being force-fed too much rock. These come in the form of ‘Only One’ and ‘Face of Light’. They pass without incident and are nice enough, but one gets the feeling that the slow-tempo songs are simply not what this band does best. A good example of this is on the noisy, riffy ‘Gypsy Heart’. Pressure and Time might not push any boundaries, but it is very enjoyable nonetheless.
Rival Sons have not broken any new ground with their label début Pressure and Time, following the paths of many bands before them. However, there is more than enough on this album to keep a casual listener interested. Pressure and Time is a record full of simmering LA rock, but sadly it just lacks the originality which is necessary for any great album.
Good: Good old fashioned rock and roll!
Bad: A bit derivative…
7 out of 10