Yeah, I’m down on The Black Keys these days, sure, and adding to the strange, not-right live gig I saw the Keys offer recently has been hearing this, the new album from Rival Sons. Similar to The Black Keys in the retro-referencing rock and blues shtick that feels like more than just shtick – and in the swift recording/releasing of albums, the Californian collective Rival Sons is at the El Camino end of the Black Keys spectrum but this won’t tear up the charts and turn them into pop superstars. They’ll still be a band that many people will ignore/never hear.
Head Down has all the Zeppelin-referencing crunch and groove that is now de rigeur and though it might not be as great as Pressure & Time it highlights a band charging on and continuing to impress (at a rapid pass). There’s really no discernable dip in quality, with time I expect to like Head Down every bit as much in fact – and together they’re an awesome one-two, playing nicely already, the slightly older brother holding the hand of this new pup.
Perhaps what I like most – and where Rival Sons move far away from The Black Keys and nestle up nearer Buffalo Killers – is that this feels like a new, young, fresh band. But it also feels like vintage, classic rock. If you take a band like Vintage Trouble (please! Take them…etc) it’s too much of a pastiche, far too obvious. This, on the other hand, feels real and raw and hey, if you like the new ZZ Top album (as I do) this could also fit in nicely alongside that too perhaps.