Sometimes I need complex ideas, clever juxtapositions of styles and witty wordplay, stuff to really listen to very carefully.
Sometimes I just need to rock out to something kick ass with a great guitar sound.
Rival Sons Pressure & Time from 2011 is really scratching that last itch for me at the moment. I put this LP on for a quick listen the Friday night before last and it’s barely left my turntable ever since*. In that short time it has vaulted in status from ‘pretty good – play occasionally’, to ‘if I were to go deaf now, it really wouldn’t matter to me anymore’. I bought this LP because I had the track ‘Young Love’ on a Classic Rock cover disc and loved it and so next time I went on Amazon tipsy in October last year, I took the plunge.
Pressure & Time is built on a solid Led Zeppelin chassis and by that I don’t mean in a slavish copycat Kingdom Come sort of way**, but the band add a real soul thrust and rhythm and groove to a number of the very best tracks here. The end result is a platter which is obviously new, but very 60s (rather than the usual 70s) sounding. Right from the off it hits you with a swaggering cocksureness (cocksuredness? cocksurety?) in ‘All Over The Road’. Guitars chug, manly vocal chords yowl and lay down the law all over a spot-on rhythm section.
We’ve got the Cadillac, we’re gonna drive right into the sun.
You’re a tight piece of ass, but you know you’re my only one.
We make the rules, and we both know what’s got to be done.
So pull up your dress, I’m gonna show you how the west was won.
Okay, okay so it’s not exactly ‘Desolation Row’, or ‘Let It Be’, but that’s the point. This is music to drink to excess and comb your testosterone to and it’s perfect at what it does, satisfaction guaranteed. If you have the rock receptor gene^ then chances are you’ll fall for this, if not then I’ve got a harder sales job on my hands here.
Second track is ‘Young Love’, the reason this one stood out for me is the way Jay Buchanan opts for a real Jim Morrison, almost a Glen Danzig, bass croon. The tale of clearing out of your hometown with your best girl, for a ‘factory job in North Caroline’ is excellent, especially when allied to some great guitar flourishes, courtesy of Scott Holiday. ‘Pressure And Time’, the next track is yet another humdinger this time with a real fast soul beat to it’s call-and-response chorus, in this track and ‘Get Mine’ the rhythm section of Michael Miley and Robin Everhart really earn their salt, I am a complete sucker for the 60’s go-go beat of the latter. In fact it is this last track that has kept Pressure & Time glued to my turntable. There’s even room for that rarest of creatures, a genuine-sounding ballad too, ‘Only One’,
Another night spent alone, while I’m up on stage
In some Mid-west town, refusing to act my age.
The second side, whilst solid, is a little less stellar but a damn sight noisier. The solid groove of ‘Burn Down Los Angeles’ is a treat, whilst ‘Save Me’ conjures up the spectre of Burn-era Deep Purple, which can never be a bad thing in my book. ‘White Noise’ for all of its, slightly clumsy eco lyrics, sounds intriguingly like a metallic take on the noisier bits of the The White Album and the final track, ‘Face of Light’ sounds like a more focused latter-day Black Crowes.
I really recommend this LP and it gets 1537 bonus points (not for swearing this time, there’s only one ‘ass’ on the whole LP) but because Rival Sons recognise the importance of brevity, none of the tracks apart from the last one hit 4 minutes, most come in at around 3 minutes flat. In an age of borderline ever-lasting rock LPs, it makes Pressure & Time taste even sweeter. Sure this is a ‘classic’ rock LP, but there’s enough jumbling of the elements and creativity in here to bust it out of the homage ghetto. Interestingly enough Rival Sons are on Earache Records too and they seem to have a real penchant for prog rock style covers, which really don’t fit the music – if they’re not careful I’ll resume my cover design career for them, consider yourself warned Rival Sons!
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*partly because Mrs 1537 really, really can’t get enough of Rival Sons and I’m too frightened to cross her.
**God I used to love Kingdom Come.
^or to give it the full Latin name, LemmiusAngusyoungius-Zeppelineus. That’s a proper scientific fact – I checked it on the internet and stuff.