Low Country Sound/Atlantic
Review by Tim Taylor
Powerful New LP By California Sons!
We live in a time when many music fans, critics, and artists are making the claim that Rock music is dead. I’d like to round up all of those people, and slap them across the face with a copy of Feral Roots, the latest masterpiece from Rival Sons. This record has all the brilliant fuzzy guitar riffs and thunderous drums that we’ve come to expect from this band on songs like the album opener “Do Your Worst”, “Back in the Woods”, and the heavy “End of Forever”, but the true beauty of Feral Roots lies in its unexpected intricacies.
The subtle female backing vocals on “Too Bad” are the perfect compliment to Jay Buchanan’s powerhouse vocals. The switch by Scott Holiday to a clean riff, instead of his signature fuzz-tone, on “Stood By Me” blends magnificently with his energetic slide-guitar solo. The surprise of the soft melody on “All Directions” connecting to its epic rock n’ roll ending with Buchanan’s strongest howl of the album will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Michael Miley’s percussion, most notably his quiet cymbal work, during the title track is masterful.
The most surprising moment of Feral Roots is the closing song, “Shooting Stars”. It starts with Buchanan singing with a choir, and when the rest of the band kicks in, it turns into an anthem of positivity and love saying, “We move through the world like shooting stars across the sky/spinning through the darkness putting the light into their eyes”.
This record takes you on a journey from beginning to end. It has all of the guitar tricks, otherworldly drumming, and superior vocals that Rival Sons fans have fallen in love with over the years, but it shows so many new sides of the band as well. You won’t want to pick a song or two from Feral Roots for a Spotify playlist. It’s not that kind of album. It’s an album to absorb and experience, like the great rock albums of the 70’s. There isn’t another rock band this good on the planet right now, so blind your eyes, still your tongue, and lose yourself in the best record in recent memory.