Review: Rival Sons – Hollow Bones

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80%
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Imposing

Modern rock with classic tunes impossible to get out of your head.

Hollow Bones is the fifth studio album from Long Beach, California, rock band Rival Sons. Seven years after the release of Before The Fire, their first album, the band has toured with rock legends such as Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, supported AC/DC and Alice Cooper, and continued to pursue their own fanbase with well-received albums like 2012’s Head Down and 2014’s Great Western Valkyrie.

Recorded in only a few weeks in October 2015 and composed entirely after the band entered the studio, Hollow Bones follows and evolves slightly, maturing from the ambiance of Great Western Valkyrie. Their established sound is developed with Jay Buchanan’s soulful voice, a psychedelic groove, and Scott Holiday’s discernible guitar sound. The album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, and is produced by Dave Cobb, with whom the band had already regularly collaborated.

The album’s opener, first single ‘Hollow Bones Pt. 1,’ immediately sets an energetic, deep, and captivating vibe. The drums (Michael Miley) and bass (Dave Beste) are shown as the main drive is joined by a fuzzy guitar, before finally shining with Buchanan’s heartfelt and profound voice. Soon, the chorus of ‘Thundering Voices’ displays Rival Sons’ mystic and mesmerising side, accompanied by a slight wink of fragility in Buchanan’s performance. ‘Baby Boy’ exhibits a memorable rock sound with another catchy and powerful chorus, once again the guitar riffs are punchy.

‘Pretty Face’ brings the listener back to the famous 70s rock aesthetic, following the more haunting blues of ‘Fade Out.’ Later, ‘Hollow Bones Pt. 2,’ the biggest and longest track of Hollow Bones, finally appears. By its accentuated aggressive musical moments being assembled with some smooth and deep ones, it is nothing short of a masterpiece. Hollow Bones finishes with ‘All That I Want,’ its most poignant and graceful flourish. Beautifully framed, the strings and the soft guitar are mixed with a delicate, melancholic, and shivering vocal, and all the emotions just keep on increasing until the end. It is a perfect ending for the record.

Though maybe a little short at 37 minutes for its 9 tracks, Hollow Bones joins the previous outstanding discography of Rival Sons by affirming their style and still refreshing their sound somewhat into a classic 70s rock. ‘Baby Boy’ and ‘All That I Want’ in particular emerge from the other tracks – the first promises to become a classic; the latter demonstrates the emotional aspects of their style. As fifth albums go, Hollow Bones is great and there is no doubt that its music will reach even more people than before.

Hollow Bones is out now via Earache Records.

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