ALBUM REVIEW: Rival Sons – Feral Roots

Release Date: January 25th 2019
Label: Low Country Sound/Atlantic Records


Rival Sons initially started off as a side-project when its members formed together in 2009 from a collection of other bands, but now ten years down the line, it’s not only their main focus, but they also have a sixth album to offer, titled ‘Feral Roots’.

Stomping in with bikes and boots attitude, third track ‘Back In The Woods’ is a homage to classic rock ‘n’ roll, ensuing with endless enthusiasm and using well rounded chords with hefty distortion to create the feel of an American anthem.

Later track ‘End Of Forever’ is a retaliatory gut punch of frustration cadenced against a backdrop of heavily distorted chords that add extra venom to the riling vocals, and chiming with gospel choirs, ‘Shooting Stars’ is a chorus of declarations straight from Sunday morning church that seeks to inspire us into a raucous chant and may be even a dance.

The record’s titular track starts off on the side of country and western, combining acoustic guitars and muted rhythm sections to give a broad and atmospheric backdrop to the reverberating vocals. While this is a great instrumental section, Jay Buchanan‘s vocals stall on the line “Feral Roots, calling me back home” that gets repeated eight times with only a guitar solo to intersperse them, and in turn shows a lack of creativity to round out the song effectively, something that is proven even further when it ends on a hum instead of actual words.

Adding a more modern twist, ‘Sugar On The Bone’ strays away from the instrumental and sticks with a concise sequence of riffs that could likened to an indie rock outfit that uplifts the tempo and energy of the album.

In short, ‘Feral Roots’ is a classic American rock ‘n’ roll journey that is effective, but gets a little long in the tooth.