Rival Sons: Great Western Valkyrie

Californian rockers Rival Sons are back with a new album. Our reviewer thinks it's very, very good indeed.

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Rival Sons? Aren’t they that bunch who model themselves on The Black Crowes?

The Black Keys would be closer but you’re still wrong. They’d rather gnaw your jaw with up-all-night chatter about George Harrison and that Harold Krishna bloke. And don’t mention Led Zeppelin because they’ve had a gutful of that one.

Yeah but the singer, that pretty bloke, Jay Wotsit. He’s a Led ringer for Percy Plant isn’t he?

I see what you did there. It’s true that Mr Buchanan is a gifted mimic when he wants to be – his Morrison is magnificent – but he’s more than a thieving magpie.

Talking of operas, isn’t the new album called Ride of the Valkyries?

Nope. Great Western Valkyrie.

Isn’t that another name for the 8.15 to Penzance, via Exeter and Plymouth?

You’re an exasperating cove. She’s from a tribe of Norse female folk, virgins by all accounts, and they rescue the bodies of warriors and bring them back to afterlife and that.

Sounds a bit far-fetched!

Have you no imagination? Anyway, it’s a great title for a heavy rock album.

‘Spose. Is this Valkyrie worth a listen?

It’s the best album of the year, pal. If you like hardcore rock music with clever lyrics, brilliant guitar playing and superb vocals, that is. If you don’t then what are you doing asking me all these stupid questions?

Fair point. Any tracks you’d care to single out?

They’re all good. It starts off with a song called Electric Man that makes Led Zeppelin sound like a bunch of 60-year-old giffers.

Thought we weren’t going to mention them?

Sorry, that slipped out. Thing is, they do wear certain influences on their sleeves, but they’ve got such great taste it hardly matters.

So where can I hear this magnum opus? Is it one of those annoying download-only affairs or might I purchase a physical copy in a record store, if such things still exist?

Certainly can. It’s out on the Earache label, which is synonymous with noisy acts like Napalm Death, Morbid Angel and Godflesh.

They sound like fun guys!

Well, whatever, but Rival Sons are nothing like the rest of the roster. They’re more of an old-school classic rock group. They won’t give you earache.


Max Bell

Max Bell worked for the NME during the golden 70s era before running up and down London’s Fleet Street for The Times and all the other hot-metal dailies. A long stint at the Standard and mags like The Face and GQ kept him honest. Later, Record Collector and Classic Rock called.