“100 people were polled after listening [to Head Down], and they all said the EXACT same thing: Like being chased by ninjas.. while jumping a ’71 Dodge Charger out the back of an airplane..through a ring of fire..only to come to a cushiony landing in a pit of 100 dollar bills, womens under garments, and jelly donuts…and polar bears. Some people changed the car or the donut..but same outcome. But it’s hard to really nail it down. It could just sound like Chuck Berry on a bad acid trip.” – Scott Holiday
We have a mission statement here at Nanobot Rock: to bring you the best music you have never heard of. That isn’t our mission statement? Do we have a mission statement? I just come to the meetings for the free Post-It notes and binder clips.
Based on my hypothetical mission statement, I am furious I have to write this review. It means you have not heard of Rival Sons. What is wrong with you? Why have you not downloaded their entire catalog by now? We reviewed their LP, Pressure & Time a year ago; we told you it was good, nay, great.
Maybe you fell in love with Pressure & Time and thought to yourself, “any follow-up would be a disappointment, I’ll let the fellas at Nanobot Rock experience that disappointment for me so I can pass.” Well, sorry to disappoint your disappointment. Head Down is as fantastic a follow-up as anyone could ask for.
Pressure & Time was a bombastic, 70s rock and blues explosion, but always felt fast and loose like it was a moment from careening off the ledge. Head Down still combines serious rock ‘n roll and blues riffs with extreme precision. It isn’t restrained, but the L.A. quartet learned how to pace an album. Instead of each track bursting like a atomic bomb, the thirteen tracks are the slow, even burn of a sun. After a face-scrunching, soulful first five tracks, the album slows down with a bluesy ballad “Jordan.” The album comes to a close with the ambitious “Manifest Destiny” parts 1 & 2, then lets the listener breathe as “True” takes them out with a duet of Jay Buchanan’s vocals and Scott Holiday’s guitar picking.
You want to know what it sounds like? Go get their records, read reviews, everyone says about the same thing: Rival Sons is bringing the rock back. They aren’t shackled to their influences (Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc.) but take those influences and blaze their own path.
And you should be listening to them already and not reading this. Their new album comes out September 17th. Go get it. If need be, I’ll write “Rival Sons” on one of those Post-It notes I took from the meeting room and paste it on your forehead.
Trust me, it’s for your own good.