January 21, 2019 Rival Sons – Feral Roots (Album Review)
Since 2009, Long Beach, California’s Rival Sons has done a fine job preserving the wild spirit of Rock-n-Roll bliss. Now in their prime, Rival Sons – Jay Buchanan (vocals), Scott Holiday (guitar), Mike Miley (drums), and Dave Beste (bass) – are pleased to announce the release of the band’s new album, Feral Roots, slated to drop on Friday, January 25, 2019 via Atlantic Records.
Channeling the likes of Led Zeppelin, Rival Sons blend a modern sting of live, Blues based Rock. As a loud, potent quartet, Rival Sons has perhaps single-handedly put the danger back in Rock-n-Roll. In 2011, Rival Sons released the album Pressure & Time, which garnered a buzz that landed the LP at No. 1 on Amazon’s Hard Rock Best Sellers list. Later, Rival Sons’ sixth studio album, 2016’s Hollow Bones, became the band’s highest charting album ever in the U.S. How did they do it? Well, Rival Sons’ signature sound comes from the band’s belief in recording their albums live in the studio without an overly polished production. At the end of the day, this genuine recording process has proven to be the only way to go for this West Coast act.
A true road band, Rival Sons built a strong following through extensive touring which landed the band on multiple festival stages like The Download Festival along with playing direct support on Black Sabbath’s The End farewell tour in 2016. All this in mind, Rival Sons start the new year off by way of Feral Roots. Rival Sons’ seventh studio effort, Feral Roots was produced by Grammy Award winning Producer Dave Cobb (Zac Brown Band, Chris Stapleton) at Nashville, Tennessee’s own RCA Studio A and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama.
At their best, Rival Sons kick off Feral Roots with the raw, stop and go thrust of “Do Your Worst.” Rough around the edges, the track’s engaging chorus makes it the perfect opener for Feral Roots. For those fans with a sweet tooth, “Sugar on the Bone” livens with a percussive swing and a little cow bell before the masterful, 1970s style of “Back in the Woods.” Not even halfway through, Feral Roots really begins to show the immense songwriting talent of Rival Sons. That said, the next track, “Look Away” showcases a frothy old-time sound that begins with a Blue-Grass slide guitar intro. A striking vocalist, Buchanan’s tender vocals and harmony sit warmly atop Holiday’s moving guitar chords.
The album’s eponymous track, “Feral Roots” is untamed with radical melody changes amidst a psychedelic, semi mellow composition. A stand out, “Too Bad” is a slow Blues wonder, featuring heavily devoted and vindictive vocals emphasizing this man’s desire to know if his lover is thinking of him. Up next, “Stood By Me” presents organ inspired guitar riffs with a jam session vibe similar to Steely Dan and The Doors. Moving along, Feral Roots continues to deliver enjoyable music with the euphoric “Imperial Joy,” the floating sonics of “All Directions,” and a celebratory “End of Forever.” Closing the album, “Shooting Stars” praises our life and triumphs with Gospel style back-up singers, making this the perfect way for Rival Sons to conclude their newest endeavor.
In a catchy and expressive collection of new material, Rival Sons’s Feral Roots is surely worth the wait since the band’s last album was released over two years ago. Full of skilled guitar licks, stimulating vocals, and a rattling rhythm section, Feral Roots is a consummate example of why Rival Sons are experts at Rock-n-Roll. In enough words, Rival Sons has always taken an artistic approach to songwriting, never trying to write a ‘hit single’ – and it certainly works for them. Another great showing from Rival Sons, Cryptic Rock gives Feral Roots 5 out of 5 stars.