Fireworks

Riverdogs - 'California' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     August 13, 2017    
 
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High quality Bluesy Rock 'n' Roll in the fine Classic Rock tradition.

"Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!" Riverdogs are back... and then some! Six years after 'World Gone Mad' and an astonishing twenty-seven years since their debut, 'California' springs from the traps like it's making up for lost time, with an energy, confidence and verve that'll not so much grab your attention as grab you by the balls and make you take notice. From the opening fist pumping moments of 'American Dream', it's clear that 'California' is full-on, raucous, soulful Rock 'n' Roll, as pure an expression of the genre as you're likely to hear this year and as honest as the day is long. Riverdogs are serious contenders, and boy do they play and sound like they know it!

Riverdogs consists of original members Nick Brophy (bass, vocals), Rob Lamothe (vocals, guitar), Vivian Campbell (guitars, vocals) and long-time drummer Marc Danzeisen. Clearly the presence of Campbell – originally, so the story goes, brought in to produce the band – remains a big pull for Def Leppard, Whitesnake and Dio fans, but his presence should not overshadow the chemistry, uniqueness and joy of the band effort captured here.

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That said, Campbell's performance is immense. There are times when he solos like a demon, adding grit and excitement to the smoother American elements of the Riverdogs' sound. On the aforementioned opener '...Dream', 'The Heart Is A Mindless Bird' and 'The Revolution Starts Tonight', for example, he blitzes it, and across the album as a whole, he creates what must surely be one of the studio highlights of his career. The latter track ('...Tonight') plays out like a heavier, edgy Bon Jovi, with a melody that gets in your head first listen and refuses to go away. Lamothe's soulful vocals are a particular highlight adding a heartfelt dimension throughout an album that's awash with great tunes and strong hooks.

'California' takes its inspiration primarily from the sound and feel of the band's 1990 debut, but is essentially high quality Bluesy Rock 'n' Roll in the fine Classic Rock tradition. It sounds fresh and vital, hitting a timeless groove that is as reassuring as it is exciting to those of us who love this shit. If you like heavy, edgy, Bluesy Rock 'n' Roll delivered with confidence and swagger, then make sure you buy, beg or borrow a copy of 'California'. Riverdogs have sometimes flown under the radar; make sure you don't miss them this time around.

Michael Anthony

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