Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rival Sons - self-titled

Rival Sons

It appears that the 70s hard rock revival is in such full swing that even extreme metal specialists Earache are taking a turn. Well, whoever made that decision has good ears, because Rival Sons is one of the better combos to come down that particular pike. Drawing on the same R&B-based roots as its 70s forebears, the Cali quartet roars out of its self-titled EP ready to take on the first arena it passes. Guitarist Scott Holiday distills a good three decades of rawk into his six-string flailing, while singer Jay Buchanan matches him moan for growl with swagger and soul. Tight, testosterone-heavy rockers like Radio and Torture bang heads, raise lighters and shake hips all at the same time; the shockingly pretty acoustic ballad Sacred Tongue proves that the Sons can convincingly dial it back when the lights go low. Best of all is Get What’s Coming, a titanic sociopolitical salvo with a fury/melody balance that would make the MC5 proud. Soul, the group’s foray into straight blues, doesn’t do it any favors, sounding more rote than right on. But that’s the only misstep on an introductory blast of rock & roll fury that’s the sound of young men discovering guitars, girls and their testicles all at the same time.

- Michael Toland

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