Riverdogs - California album review

LA quartet reunite with Vivian Campbell for fifth album

Cover art for Riverdogs - California album

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Riverdogs’time never quite came. Their 1990 debut album came a touch too late for the LA scene’s golden age, and guitarist Vivian Campbell soon bowed out to join Def Leppard in 1992, not long before frontman Rob Lamothe and bassist Nick Brophy put the project on ice. They reunited in 2003, but 2011’s World Gone Mad is the only recorded result since. This new album, though, suggests there’s still plenty of juice left in their tank.

Campbell’s fret howl makes plenty of attention-grabbing appearances, but what stands out on the record is the power of the songwriting. ‘I don’t know where the sun goes at night/maybe she’s sleeping off the drugs’, Lamothe sings on The Revolution Starts Tonight, and You’re Too Rock And Roll has a similarly brooding undercurrent of grungy angst. But the band also have a foot in more traditionally Los Angelean arena rock; best of all the hazy wistfulness of Golden Glow makes for a power ballad that stands far above the lighter-waving crowd.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock