Rival Sons <em>Head Down</em>


Rival Sons Head Down



The L.A. band Rival Sons derives its inspiration from the era when rock was the sole playground of mannish boys with big-ol’ bell bottoms and bigger Afros. On their second long-player, drummer Michael Miley and crew continue to mine the Grand Funk/Guess Who songbook with great success, heaping their soulful garage rock with wah-wah’d-out guitar leads, double-tracked vocal hooks, and an appropriate amount of sonic indulgence. Miley’s hyperactive yet in-the-pocket kit work is a perfect encapsulation of the band’s overall approach. Clearly he’s a student of the instrument as it was approached before new wave and disco, when a drummer was allowed to play, dammit, and a pleasing sense of off-the-cuff looseness pervades nearly every track here. Fortunately, Miley has a nose for detail and exactitude as well, so he’s not just offering period sounds and licks—he’s doing it with confidence, taste, and great accuracy, and after repeated listens you might just begin appreciating his playing for what it is, not what it reminds you of. Here’s to quality eclipsing familiarity. (Earache)

Adam Budofsky