Slim line-up, big sound; this is a combination becoming even more frequent in the current rock ‘n’ roll scene and no bigger and indeed physically bolder than that offered by UK duo Rival Bones. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist James Whitehouse and former Boss Keloid drummer Chris Thomason, the band have just released their self-titled debut EP; four rousing anthems which rock hard and carry a punch a great many bands thick with personnel would beg for.
Emerging at the beginning of 2015, Rival Bones quickly drew attention with first single You Know Who You Are; radio play quickly following before subsequent singles in Robot Girl and Lost Along The Way last year matched its success and pushed forward the band’s reputation and growing presence on the UK rock scene. Their hard rock/heavy metal sound nurtured with a host of additional flavours involved was soon drawing references to bands such as Mastodon, Queens of The Stone Age, and Audioslave whilst live the Merseyside pair soon branched from local success into stirring up bigger venue audiences and festivals such as Threshold and Tramlines. Now national attention is under threat with their first EP, an attack which will bring big rewards and rousing exploits for listener and band alike.
The EP opens with Want You Madly. Its gentle beginning is a swift deception as a sonic murmuring soon becomes a wall of imposing and inviting riffs punctured by Thomason’s heftily swinging beats. The song’s commanding stroll is soon joined by the potent tones of Whitehouse, his strong voice aided by spirited shouts and in turn grooves which just demand hips and bodies get involved. The blues spicing of the track is equally intoxicating, its tonic flowing across a landscape of heavy rock ‘n’ roll bait as alone the opener makes a major statement for band and release.
Its inescapably contagious anthemic arousal of ears and imagination is quickly backed up by the calmer waters of Marceline. Note that the track placing we were sent, and follow here is different to that on the band’s Bandcamp but no matter the order, the release fiercely rocks as the second song with its similarly reserved entrance breeds an energy and tenacity which powers a similar spirited roar to that of its predecessor, if this time unleashing it in the chorus only. Around the explosion, Whitehouse’s impressing vocals lure and involve within an equally calm temptation of melody rich sound; grooves and hooks as prevalent as in the first song and just as addictive. Those earlier comparisons are generally understandable in varying degrees but equally the second offering as in other moments within the EP has something of bands like Royal Blood and Johnny Wore Black to it.
Next up Hives gets down to business from within a sonic mist, the track soon strolling through ears with an earthier tone and confident swagger as riffs and grooves blossom while vocals once again incite further attention and involvement. Its blaze of a chorus carries a dose of grunge blues tempting, giving tang to the irresistible grooves wrapping round ears with flirtatious intent as rhythms jab and create their own infectious stirring of body and an increasingly hungry appetite for more.
The EP closes up with Running, a song sauntering in with a fuzz lined melody for company and soon after Whitehouse’s vocal invitation. A mix of blues and stoner flavouring flames within the track’s eruptions, expulsions of energy and passion surrounded by mellower but no less magnetic caresses in voice and sound. With every passing minute, the track becomes virulently catchy as it heads to a rousing crescendo followed by a last reflection of calm and in turn a final outburst of fiery provocation.
It is a superb end to a release which is sure to thrust Rival Bones to bigger and thicker attention. Their sound has an air of familiarity to it but a feeling which only adds to its potency to ignite and drive body and spirit into eager involvement with its ballsy rock ‘n’ roll; the kind of success anyone would be envious of.
The Rival Bones EP is out now on iTunes and Amazon and available @ https://rivalbones.bandcamp.com/album/rival-bones-ep
Upcoming Live Dates:
12/05 – The Blossoms, Stockport, UK
18/05 – 81 Renshaw, Liverpool, UK
25/05 – The Cave at the Holly Tree, Addlestone, UK
26/05 – Iron Road, Evesham, UK
27/05 – The Kings – Wales (KingsFest)
28/05 – The Mulberry Tavern, Sheffield, UK
02/06 – Percy’s, Whitchurch, UK
03/06 – The Greyhound, Nottingham, UK
04/06 – The Sitwell Tavern, Derby, UK
30/06 – Sonder Festival, Manchester, UK
21/07 – Amplified Festival – Gloucester, UK
Pete RingMaster 10/05/2017
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