Rival Sons – Pressure and Time Review

Rival Sons // Pressure and Time
Rating: 4.5/5.0 —Holy time warp Batman!
Label: Earache Records
Websites: rivalsons.com | myspace.com/rivalsons
Release Dates: EU: 2011.06.20 | US/CA: 06.21.2011 [digital] / 07.26.2011 [physical]

Ah, the 70s. Bell bottom jeans, afros, Volkswagen vans, key parties, all the amusing trends that won’t be missed [How could you miss Pet Rocks!? Oh, and cocaine! AMG]. What is missed however is quality Rock n’ Roll with balls, integrity and real chutzpah. Well, thanks to this very surprising release by Los Angeles based Rival Sons, the 70s rock ethos comes roaring back in a BIG way (thankfully without the bell bottoms). While Pressure and Time is their third release, I’m shamefully late to the party and let me say, I’m fucking impressed as all hell. Fusing elements of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Mountain, The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival and healthy doses of blues (and even hints at Motown), this thing rumbles and rattles with an authentic 70s rage and energy that I wouldn’t have believed possible in 2011. From start to finish Pressure and Time blasts away with powerful, emotive and fun rock like they don’t make anymore (except these guys apparently) and its a helluva ride. This sounds like some long lost rock masterpiece, exhumed in a time capsule and finally released. It ain’t exactly metal as we know it in 2011 but it’s hard edged, rowdy, raw and loud enough to win over all but the most extreme metal fans.

The first thing that will smack listeners in the face is the HUGE fuzzed out guitar tone Scott Holiday throws at you. It’s powerful, punchy and essentially the sound stoner bands worldwide have been trying to emulate for decades. Its simply mammoth. When combined with Jay Buchanan’s raw, powerful and emotional vocals that are quite similar to Robert Plant circa Led Zep’s debut, it creates an irresistible force that commands attention. Whether its the straight out rock numbers like opener “All Over the Road,” with its late period Beatles vibe, the sizzling intensity of “Young Love” (with its Doors meets Creedence meets Motown feel) or the emotional power ballad “Only One,” Buchanan and Holiday both shine and together they muscle the songs over the top with a gutsy and ballsy performance.

The songs themselves are all rock solid and there’s a great flow to the album. Each track is short, to the point (most run only two or three minutes) and memorable, with a solid and/or excellent chorus. The solos are great and channel the raucous spirit of Hendrix and his feedback-drenched style (all the guitar work on “White Noise” feels very Hendrix and very trippy) as well as Jimmy Page. Rival Sons 2011 There’s one rock chestnut after another and each song brings to mind a legend of the past. “Gypsy Heart” and “Pressure and Time” have that classic old Led Zep feel and the chorus of “Burn Down Los Angeles” just screams The Doors. There’s a rowdy swagger embedded in their style making it very compelling and highly infectious. No weak spots, no filler. All attitude and catchy as hell.

The production is a huge part of the fun factor here. The sound is vintage late 60s/early 70s and the mixing is great. The guitar is loud and ugly, the drums are punchy and the bass has a great low end rumble that shakes the speakers. The heavily fuzzed guitar sounds righteously wicked during solos and Buchanan rides over the top, not overly dominating but present enough for his screams and yelps to dial up the intensity. My biggest complaint is the shortness of the album (just over thirty minutes) and some of the songs themselves. Tracks like “All Over the Road,” “Young Love” and “Save Me” definitely leave you wanting more when they seemingly end too soon.

While this won’t appease those needing to be blast beaten or trem-picked to death, it will most certainly please fans of classic hard rock and I highly recommend checking it out. Its one of the most fun, rockin’ slabs of retro thunder to come along and it puts all the other 70s themed rock bands out there to absolute shame. Rival Sons are the real deal and this is one of the best non-metal albums I’ve heard so far this year. Get a van, paint wizards and unicorns on the sides and then rock out to this album whilst cruising chicks. The 70s are back and they are funky funkay!

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