If you’re studying the runners and riders in the annual Saviours Of American Rock’n’Roll Stakes, then Rival Sons look like the longest of long shots – a bunch of Krishna-loving, mung bean-munching, jazz-trained thirty-somethings fronted by a sensitive singer-songwriter who fancies himself as the next Jeff Buckley, heaven forbid. That they’re signed to Earache, the label that gave the world Napalm Death, Morbid Angel and seven shades of shouting in between, only extends the odds even further.
Thankfully, what looks like an almighty mess on paper turns out to be the polar opposite in reality. Pressure And Time, their second album, is a frequently electrifying slice of retro-fitted rock’n’roll that offsets its considerable debt to the past with a restless energy that anchors it squarely in the now.
Rival Sons’s collective denial of anything remotely old-school in their music is either disingenuous or plain dumb. Still, there’s no arguing with their reference points: the turbo- charged footstomp of All Over The Road nods to Free and Cream, Get Mine channels the percussive barrage of The Who, while Jay Buchanan simmers and wails like Robert Plant minus the hobbit obsession.
But there’s much more to Pressure And Time than partying like it’s 1969. The suitably incendiary Burn Down Los Angeles is a strident call to arms, and if The White Stripes had written the boneshaking White Noise, you wouldn’t be able to turn on a radio without hearing it this summer.
Not quite the future of rock’n’roll, then, but so much more than just its past.