Rival Sons “Great Western Valkyrie”
The latest release from Rival Sons was actually released in June and it just kind of feels like the time may well be right for them to hit the big time. “Great Western Valkyrie” has been described as their most cohesive album to date and it certainly has a feel of being hailed as a classic. Given The Black Keys could have been said not to have really followed up El Camino then Rival Sons could be set to take their crown with this release.
This album kicks off with “Electric Man”, a huge rock song with an absolutely massive riff. It’s the kind of Blues rocker that has made The Black Keys huge over the last few years. It has that same groove which has an almost primeval feel about it. Whilst “Good Luck” adds a more sixties vibe and has a sort of soul feel beneath the riff. “Play The Fool” is similarly dominated by a huge guitar sound but it has a shimmer to it which makes it more ‘danceable’ than your average rock song.
The band move on a decade or so with “Secret”, a song which is really like classic Led Zeppelin, especially with the ‘Plant esque’ vocal wails. “Open My Eyes” has a similar feel, but this time it’s the massive opening drums that dominate and have you instantly thinking of Bonham.
Their sound slows down on “Good Things” which is an absolutely gorgeous song. Again there is almost a Motown feel to the track which just slithers and slides along. It’s an intoxicating and intriguing song. The album enters a triple whammy of really epic sounding songs with “Rich And Poor”, “Belle Star” and “Where I’ve Been”. The last of these being a big American blues ballad. The album then ends with “Destination On Course” which is another slow, epic song with the addition of some almost operatic backing vocals. There is an exquisite guitar solo and the whole song is like an expressive demonstration of musicianship.
This release should only really be available on vinyl as it has two very distinctive sides. Side One is full of rocking songs that you will want to play loud. They’re big and brash blues rockers designed to make you feel good. In contrast, the ‘B side’ is very much the coming down side. This is made up of epic, grand, slower tracks. Bands like The Black Keys and to some extent Jack White have become huge delivering blues based rock songs and Rival Sons fit nicely into that category. Their music is a huge rock sound but not in a commercial, shiny corporate way but instead with a feel for an authentic blues sound. Certainly, if you are a fan of those bands or indeed Led Zeppelin, this will be a definite one to add to your vinyl collection.