Rival Sons – Head Down

Since the release of “Pressure and time”, Rival Sons have been making a big impact on the music scene.  Their 70s influenced blues rock sound has won them a lot of fans, both for the album and also for their live shows.  They’ve toured the UK late last year as a headline act and also supported Black Stone Cherry on their sold out tour earlier this year where unusually the venues were packed out before they (the support band) came on stage – typically support bands only get a small crowd , so the fact that people came in early to watch them speaks volumes.

With the last album being so good, then expectations are bound to be high for the new album – Head Down.  The album takes its title from the lyrics of the song “Keep on Swinging” – “Keep my head down and keep on swinging”.  Having listened to it, I can happily report that the new album is absolutely fantastic.

Brief comments on a few of the tracks

Right from the opening notes of “Keep on swinging” this album is off to a good start.  The song has that great 70s feel to it but without feeling dated. This is classic Rival Sons – good heavy blues rock with a 70s feel and it sounds great.

“Jordan” is a slower track and is definitely my favourite track.  The acoustic guitar opening sets the tone for it, and the slow gentle pace allows the vocals to really shine.  The music is kept nice and gentle and simple but this stripped down approach just works beautifully – too much guitar would ruin the song.  Even the guitar solo is kept down to a perfect level and it fits the song perfectly.  An amazingly beautiful song that I can listen to again and again very happily.

“Nava” is an intricate acoutic guitar instrumental track – and sounds great.

“True” is the other song on the album that is very different to most of the album.  It’s simply vocals and acoustic guitar, and the vocals have a different feel to them compared to the rest of the album – higher pitched and a different style.  The version on the album is actually the very first time the song was played together – and I can see why they chose not to change it at all – this first simple take just works perfectly.  The song came from something written by Scott that Jay then took and worked with and came up with “True”.  Interestingly the same original work appears on the album as “Nava”, so you have two very different tracks that actually started out as just one.

How to sum up?  Well I’d expected a lot from this new album as “Pressure and time” was a great album, and sometimes when your expectations are too high you end up disappointed, but that’s definitely not the case here – I had high expectations and Rival Sons comfortably exceeded them.  This is an excellent album that is going to delight their fans and also earn them a whole host of new fans.

Rating 9/10

Track Listing:

1. Keep on swinging
2. Wild animal
3. You want to
4. Until the sun comes
5. Run from revelation
6. Jordan
7. All the way
8. The heist
9. Three fingers
10. Nava
11. Manifest destiny pt 1
12. Manifest destiny pt 2
13. True

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.