Produced by Dave Cobb. Recorded and mixed by Pete Lyman at 1974.
I’ve been listening to Rival Sons for the last few years on Planet Rock radio forgetting that I had this promo CD sitting on my shelf. What a discovery!
Rival Sons are a blues rock band from Long Beach, California, USA. They have a bit of the same kind of vibe as Clutch, with some Black Crowes thrown in for good measure.
“Get what’s coming” (track 1) opens with a very Led Zeppelin-style gallop before settling into a Clutch-style groove that scans very satisfyingly: “Coulda been a docta but at least you’re not a preacha!” About halfway through the song slows to a ponderous jam (think Spinal Tap “Jazz odyssey”) before returning to its righteous stomp.
“Torture” (track 2) is another upbeat number, with a very melodic, hummed chorus. I was trying to remember who they reminded me of, before I realised that it was a band that I’d heard on Planet Rock… yeah, you guessed it: Rival Sons. Moving swiftly on.
“Radio” (track 3) opens with a little drum solo and is built primarily around a bluesy little riff that again reminds me heavily of Clutch. It’s a great rock n’ roll song.
“Sacred tongue” (track 4) takes us in a completely different direction. It is delicate, vulnerable and acoustic. It reminds me very much of the vibe on Led Zeppelin III fused with Richard Thompson. It is by far my favourite track on the album.
“Sleepwalker” (track 5) takes up back to some powerful riffs that pulse and spark their way through the verses and are joined by a screaming harmonica for the choruses.
The final track on this promo EP is “Soul” (track 6). It is the most overtly blues track on the disc. So much so that I initially assumed that it must be a cover; it’s not. It has a very soulful, bluesy feel that reminds me of so much music that came out of the 1950s. Good stuff!
I didn’t expect to be as impressed as I have been by this promo. While I’d heard bits and pieces of Rival Sons on the radio it wasn’t until I’d heard more of it, in context, back-to-back before I really began to appreciate it. I may have to check them out more and I definitely want to learn to play “Sacred tongue” on my guitar.
Review score: 95%