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Album Review

Rival Sons – Hollow Bones

Rival Sons - Hollow Bones

Sun-and-whiskey-drenched, fuzzed-out rock‘n’roll.

Label: Earache
Released: 10th June 2016

Rating: ★★★★

The sun-and-whiskey-drenched, fuzzed-out rock‘n’roll that Rival Sons have become known and loved for over the course of four records would typically befit motley crews of dive bar-dwelling miscreants. However, the Californian quartet have once again proved not only that they can smash that grubby aesthetic with one fell swoop, but they can do it in spectacular style.

The only thing that’s more defined than their dapper attire (or indeed, guitarist Scott Holiday’s sculpted ‘tache) are the grooves that form the rock-solid foundations of their fifth record. ‘Hollow Bones’ is ideally continuations of a theme which finally came to fruition on 2014’s ‘Great Western Valkyrie’, but this time it’s rawer and feral – much like the snowy wolf which adorns the mesmerising artwork.

There’s also more confidence in the distorted licks and hefty helpings of psychedelia: opening track ‘Hollow Bones Pt. 1’ sounds like Royal Blood and The Black Keys dropping acid and jamming Led Zeppelin covers in a garage. Its progressive counterpart is a less instantaneous affair, but there’s still plenty of panache in its choruses.

This record isn’t all about its ethereal trips, and its less effects-driven tracks often prove all the more flamboyant. ‘Pretty Face’’s desert-tinged melodies are cool and simple right when they need to be, while Jay Buchanan come full circle as one of the suavest, slickest singers of his generation, before the soulful ‘Black Coffee’ soothes with an irresistible blue-collar charm.

If you liked ‘Great Western Valkyrie’, you’ll be lapping ‘Hollow Bones’ up like a cat to a saucer of milk laced with Jack Daniel’s. If, on the other hand, you think that classic rock is merely an old man’s game, then prepare to meet the new classics… Danny Randon