Review Summary: Album five and California's beloved Sons keep on swinging
We've seen their success coming. We might not have expected it in such a rapid pace, but deep inside we knew it would eventually come. How could they skip the 'train of success' with such a rare and distinctive talent" So much attention to detail" Yes, there are still bands who know how to draw attention without overreacting.
Some years ago, a band had to be abusive in attitude, experimental with drugs and drinking alchohol to death to draw attention. Guitarists and vocalists had to do all these thrice as good to be cool and reputable. Exaggeration was a must; a part of the game. But these days, there are guys who are cool in a different way. They get inspiration solely from the music of their heroes, not their notorious attitudes. Their pure love for rock 'n' roll as well as the passion to spread it, is simply a sufficient factor to build a band's character. And the Buchanan/Holiday collaboration is one of those which can defy the old-school stereotype of reputable twins.
In album five, many would have expected a simple repetition of the success formula and a new album once in every five or maybe six years time. But the work ethic that this quartet has is the reason why the 'milking of the cash cow' does not prevail in their industrious team. Their honesty and genuine love for rock 'n' roll is what fans appreciate and what distinguishes them from other 'new-age' classic rock bands.
There are so many things to talk about the Californians and their fifth studio album Hollow Bones
, that the Zeppelin influences is one of the last ones in that list. Dave Cobb's catalytic role in production should probably be the first place to start with. Paying a close attention to detail, he manages so well to highlight Miley's merits on the drum kit that by the end of Hollow Bones Pt. 1
the versatile drummer becomes a protagonist figure in the album. Dynamic triplets, groovy rhythms, no metronomes. Seventies'-inspired rock and roll.
Jay Buchanan's vocals are once again magnificent throughout the record. His performance in Black Coffee
-a cover of Humble Pie's 1973 hit- did not only had passion and vocal skills but also melancholy, drama and anguish. A stunning tribute to the blues. At a similar vocal emotional tone but instrumentally more intense, Fade Out
is probably the nearest that Rival Sons have ever get to Led Zeppelin. With Holiday's heavy chords and Miley's powerful drum patterns, the Californians are straight as to who their idols are.
Melodic and instinctive, Scott Holiday's guitar play is as firm as ever. Knowing that the buzzy effects of his guitar are becoming his trademark sound, he does ever so well not to be tiresome and repetitive. His serenic riff in Thundering Voices
is one of his most alluring moments ever. And let's not forget the colossal riff in Tied Up
- simple, solid, full of confidence. Thankfully, that monster was released as a single prior to the album's release.
On the other hand, Dave Beste was more of a peripheral figure in the album. Playing in a calm and firm style and with minimal involvement in the composition of the songs, he managed so well to link the rhythmic section with the melodic one. The up-lifting Baby Boy
and the hot-tempered Hollow Bones Pt. 2
are definitely his best moments in the album.
However, all these might sound as if the Sons have recorded their best album to date. No, its not the best one. It was a little more than half an hour. It had a cover song. It had a two-part song. We know they can do better. Let Hollow Bones
be the album that consolidates their position on the rock map. While we wait for the next one, we will just keep on swinging.