2 December 2016

Rival Sons - Hollow Bones


How many blogs can we put up in one day?  Many blogs it seems, many blogs indeed and onto the next one which is by Rival Sons.  We reviewed their last album
'Great Western Valkyrie' (our review cleverly linked here) when it came out and (apart from bemoaning the fact it was released on Earache records) we thought it was a good album.  So now we are onto album number five called 'Hollow Bones' which was released in June 2016, so there has been a bit of a delay on this review.  It has been getting good reviews and it also charted very well around the world.  They are also the main support on the last Black Sabbath tour, which is not something to be scoffed at; so, how has this album turned out......

01 - Hollow Bones Part 1

With a brief drumroll, the band kick off into a blues rock explosion that you have come to expect from these guys.  A little hint to Led Zeppelin, a little bit of Black Sabbath and a little bit of modern sensibilities as well.  It is a straight up rock & roll anthemic opening and it sounds rather good, a little retro, but that is a given in the classic rock genre to be honest and when it sounds this good, you really do not give two shits.

02 - Tied Up

They are really going for it on this album with these two opening songs, the second song ‘Tied Up’ is a sultry tune about the dangers of love and how it can feel like you are all tied up in one person.  It has a brilliant riff; the dark verses are spaces for the bass & drums to hold everything together and it is all tied together by a fantastic vocal performance from Jay Buchanan.

03 - Thundering Voices

Changing it up slightly with ‘Thundering Voices’ has anthemic verses and lighter/gentle chorus sections.  The riff for this song is stupidly simple and as good as anything you will hear from classic rock this year.  More blues rock with attitude and aggression.  It is one of the best songs on here, definitely worth checking out. 

04 - Baby Boy

‘Baby Boy’ is a decent number which does nothing wrong as it has a beat you can dance to, an attitude you could shave with and a swagger that will open any bar and get you a free beer.  But it is also a filler track, so whilst it has all that game, it is short on being memorable at the same time. 

05 - Pretty Face

More flat out rock which deals with falling in love and being jealous of a past lover and their new partner, it has a brilliant performance by bass play Dave Beste and the song is kept together so well by drummer Mike Miley.  All the band sound on form here and whilst it is not the loudest song here, it is one of those songs that still in your memory.

06 - Fade Out

The painful side of the blues is on show here, the heart is not so much on display to be honest, but trampled, beaten and stamped into the floor by pointy shoes and knives.  The guitar work by Scott Holiday is second to none on here, the haunting vocals of Jay Buchanan can cause pain at a hundred yards and it will be going down a storm on their live set; what a song, what a performance.

07 - Black Coffee

This is a Led Zeppelin song in all but name, it is the song where their influence bleeds through every note.  This is not a bad thing to be honest, as it also have a little funky moment in the middle that is straight out of gospel territory and it has some little hooks that give it such an explosive feeling, a bit of fun and how does those vocals howl on this one!!!

08 - Hollow Bones Part 2

The second part of ‘Hollow Bones’ is a darker beat to the first part, it is also thankfully a different beast to that first number.  I love the riff and how it sounds heavy without having any really weight behind it, it is just a joy of a song that makes the hairs on your neck stand on end and it is definitely one of the best riffs of 2016.  It might stretch on a little, but you expect that from blues rock in places and it fits in well with the song.

09 - All That I Want

Ending the album with a gentle acoustic guitar, this love song is laced with strings, heartfelt emotion and a mournful soul of the eternally lost.  For what it is, ‘All That I Want’ is a good number that I personally would not have ended the album, but it still sounds decent and for what it is, does nothing wrong.

I was surprised by this album, it did not sound as if it was a tribute or trying to re-create the acts of years gone by.  It was spot on, to the point and beautifully created; the craftsmanship on this record is spectacular and it is one of my surprises of 2016.  It is brief and it leaves you wanting more, something that a few artists could learn from to be honest.  Whilst they are not reinventing the wheel and in some places, it does have a “heavy balloon” flavour that verges on tribute, it has enough of their own style and confidence for them to make it their own.  When I am in the mood for this music, it will be amongst the first choices I will consider.  Surprise of 2016 for me I feel....

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

Top track – Fade Out

You can purchase Hollow Bones on Amazon here.

You can visit the Rival Sons website here.

You can visit the Rival Sons Facebook here.

You can stream Hollow Bones on Tidal here.

You can stream Hollow Bones on Spotify here.

You can stream Hollow Bones on Deezer here.

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