Rival Sons – Great Western Valkyrie
It would appear that with such acts as The White Stripes and The Black Keys spearheading the revival of classic rock ‘n’ roll into the mainstream music scene, the general public have seemingly had their fill of psychedelic blues rock bands. While these groups have done wonders for the genre, other raw bluesy acts such as Rival Sons have been overlooked and at times outright forgotten. This is even after several critically-acclaimed supporting tours with Judas Priest, Kiss and AC/DC; an opportunity that at one time would have propelled a band to superstardom.
Sadly this has not been the case for Rival Sons, who have just released their fourth studio album Great Western Valkyrie, somewhat unfortunately alongside new material from the aforementioned leaders of modern blues-rock, which frankly would be an absolute injustice if it were to outshine such an outstanding record as this.
To show they mean business, the band kick-start the album with Electric Man, a takes-no-prisoners, soul-driven groove that demands repeat listenings even before you move onto the ensuing tracks. Superbly accompanied by Good Luck and Play the Fool and it is easy to see how far the band have come in their abilities.
Guitarist Scott Holiday is unflappable across the board, channelling the best of Hendrix, Clapton and Page into his work making for some incredibly infectious riffs, while frontman Jay Buchanan’s vocals are nothing short of spellbinding, cementing himself as arguably the best hard rock vocalist of present times. Completing the band’s rhythm section is bassist Robin Everhart and drummer Mike Miley who are equally remarkable in their capabilities at delivering vintage bourbon-soaked underlays, showcased vividly within tracks Secret and the thunderous Open Your Eyes.
Belle Star, perhaps the most dynamic song on the album, highlights the bands experimental influences with its soft choruses and frantic verses before Destination on Course closes the album on a sly wary note that progresses into a full-fledged psychedelic jam. Buchanan’s vocal performance is utterly brilliant here and wonderfully escorted by a series of eerie harmonies that help make this track the album’s masterpiece.
In a nutshell, this is Rival Sons’ best work thus far, impressing both fashionable music lovers and blues aficionados alike, all the while charging the strongest prospect anyone has had of knocking off the current kings of contemporary hard rock and crowning new champions.
Great Western Valkyrie was released on 9th June 2014. For further information or to order the album visit Rival Sons’ website here.
Watch the video for Open My Eyes here: