Since I laid ears on Rival Sons however many years ago, I have always been a fan of their eclectic blues driven groove. One of the many things I admire in the Rival Sons is their ability to constantly evolve. Never will you hear the same thing twice or even remotely similar. Their latest offering ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ is a delight to indulge in, each track bringing something different, and emotive.
True to typical Rival Sons style ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ was born in Nashville and written and recorded over a course of six weeks with producer Dave Cobb. From beginning to end ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ offers a variety of moods, colours and contrasts within the sounds used to create this ambiguous delight.
‘Electric Man’ is the first track, which instantly hits strong and heavy with definitive riffs from Scott and a nice rhythm from Miley on the skins. Where it may be lacking lyrically compared to Jay’s usual depth with words, the underlying groove definitely steps up and makes this a great track to shake your ass too.
‘Great Western Valkyrie’ to me is definitely an album of two halves. The first five tracks are undeniably filled with infectious melodies and beats fit to fill any dance floor.
‘Good Luck’ the second track on the album is probably one of my favourites; it lures me in and has me singing along in no time. I especially enjoy the accents Miley uses within the track.
‘Good Things’ the new single from the album has a very saucy swagger indeed. Scott’s tones on the guitar sound very psychedelic at times and a true treat to listen to. David Beste, the new bass man, has stepped in nicely and provides a great juicy bass line, combined with Miley’s tight beats there is a very slick rhythm section indeed.
‘Open my Eyes’ seems to be the palate cleanser of this delicious meal before the album sets into what I see as the second half of the album, which is more of a vast soundscape where the guys seem to stretch their legs a little more and explore their musicality. ‘Open My Eyes’ comes in with a good strong beat from Miley; forceful like a bouncer trying to break up a fight outside a club. Jay’s lyrics are descriptive and encourage great imagery. His tone gives a feeling of dominance which matches the strength of the song, while again Scott’s fuzz and riffs provide the perfect backdrop.
Ah, now we step into the luscious ‘Rich and Poor’ which saunters along hypnotically and lures you in like a mistress at midnight... ‘Belle Starr’ starts incredibly heavy before it takes you into an almost dream like state where Jay’s vocals are like a siren by the sea, calling out to the ships that pass by. Miley uses a very slow and steady beat during this time, filled with deep and bellowing tones that act as a great accent to this sensual journey which leads perfectly into the next track ‘Where I’ve Been’
This is probably another of my favourite tracks, Jay is a lyrical dream come true who always manages to make you feel every word and does exactly this during ‘Where I’ve Been’. I feel that Scott, Miley and Dave collectively provide an incredibly beautiful frame the words and tones of Jay’s voice. The guitar solo soars with a certain style and grace that only Scott can.
The final track ‘Destination on Course’ is haunting and at times almost hypnotic. There is a truly fantastic instrumental moment when Dave and Miley lay down a beast of a rhythm while Scott dances in and out with a diverse range of sounds and tones. This song is raw and adventurous and reminds me exactly why Rival Sons are one of the best rock ‘n’ roll bands around today.
‘Great Western Valkyrie’ is a triumph, and very different to its predecessors and a reminder of the constant evolution Rival Sons demonstrate year after year.
Great Western Valkyrie will be released June 6th in Europe, and June 9th in the UK on Earache Records
See RIVAL SONS on tour at the following shows:
May 30 - Helsinki, Finland - Hartwall Arena (w/ AEROSMITH)
Jun. 01 - Stockholm, Sweden - Tele2 Arena (w/ AEROSMITH)
Jun. 04 - Nijmegen, Netherlands - Doornroosje
Jun. 05 - Berlin, Germany - C-Club
Jun. 06 - Nurburg, Germany - Rock Am Ring
Jun. 07 - Nuremburg, Germany - Rock Im Park
Jun. 09 - London, UK - Scala (SOLD OUT)
Jun. 10 - Birmingham, UK - Academy 2 (SOLD OUT)
Jun. 12 - Manchester, UK - Gorilla (SOLD OUT)
Jun. 13 - Castle Donington, UK - Download Festival
Jun. 14 - Isle of Wight, UK - Isle of Wight Festival
Jun. 16 - Edinburgh, UK - Liquid Rooms (SOLD OUT / date changed from June 11th)
Jun. 19 - Nashville, TN - 3rd & Lindsley
Jun. 20 - Sparta, IL - Copperhead Music Festival
Jun. 21 - Pontiac, MI - The Crofoot
Jun. 24 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge (SOLD OUT)
Jun. 27 - Saint-Ephrem, QC - Woodstock en Beauce
Jun. 28 - Kingston, ON - Ale House
Jul. 03 – Toronto, Canada – Virgin Mobile Mod Club
Jul. 04 - Barrie, ON - Ranch Concert Hall (w/ THE TEA PARTY)
Jul. 05 - Thunder Bay, ON - Thunder Bay Blues Festival
Jul. 08 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock
Jul. 09 - Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge
Jul. 11 - Denver, CO - Marquis Theatre
Jul. 12 - Telluride, CO - The Ride Festival
Jul. 31 - Notodden, Norway - Notodden Blues Festival
Aug. 01 - Andalsnes, Norway - Raumarock Festival
Aug. 02 - Ostersund, Sweden - Storsjoyran Festival
Aug. 07 - Skanderborg, Denmark - Smukfest
Aug. 09 - Oppikopi Festival, Limpopo, South Africa
All articles are © Michelle Nevill