Rival Sons, Cherry Glazerr, Deerhunter rock the right way in sequels
THE GOOD: California rock group Rival Sons unleashes its sixth.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: I don’t like randomly tossing out the word “retro,” but that’s exactly what these guys have been doing for a decade now. And they bring the whole classic rock vibe better than practically anyone making records today. Frontman Jay Buchanan and his crew certainly sound more genuine than newcomers Greta Van Fleet.
“Feral Roots” tweaks the formula just a little bit. The music is much more textured and reserved when a particular song warrants just that. The title cut is a prime example. The band isn’t afraid to unplug and stretch out sonically, allowing a tune to slowly gain momentum. “Feral Roots” cranks in spots, yet it’s also an album that carries you off to another place entirely. Rival Sons embraces the variety, jumping from the fierceness spread across “Sugar on the Bone” to the introspection of “Shooting Stars” without misplacing one precious guitar riff.
BUY IT?: Surely.
Cherry Glazerr — ‘Stuffed and Ready’
THE GOOD: California alt-rock band Cherry Glazerr cranks up the guitars and frustration on its third.
THE BAD: Not really.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The band lost its synth player to solo projects last year, so Glazerr is once again an airtight power trio. No matter the lineup though, this is still singer/songwriter/guitarist Clementine Creevy’s show all the way. Here, she takes on some of the world’s problems but mainly gets introspective and tackles a bunch of her own. Creevy is not in a happy place, but her aggressions make the songs all the more engaging.
Producer Carlos de la Garza (Bad Religion, Waters) returns and gives the album some much-welcome polish and gloss, but not so much that it becomes distracting. Some of Creevy’s melodies are left-of-center and creepy (“That’s Not My Real Life” and “Self Explained” elicit shivers). When set against a crunchy backdrop, dark tunes and brash guitars form a cool juxtaposition. This band is maturing, and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.
BUY IT?: Yep.
Deerhunter — ‘Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?’
THE GOOD: Georgia indie rock outfit Deerhunter changes things up yet again on its eighth.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: A lot of jarring elements come together throughout this record, and the guys make it work. We have the Baroque harpsichord on “Death in Midsummer” playing against the icy synths found throughout the Gary Numan-like instrumental “Greenpoint Gothic.” The delicate, swirling “Element” is the polar opposite of the jagged bleakness carrying “Nocturne.” Then you have the insanely catchy “Plains.” Lo-fi drums lock in the grooves as guitars fight for space with low, rumbling pianos and eerie atmospherics. Producer Cate Le Bon helps the band paint all the multi-dimensional backdrops.
On top of all this, frontman Bradford Cox offers a gray and rotting world view; the melodies may be pretty in spots but abandon all hope. The reserved chaos forms an album that only becomes more fascinating with repeat listens. Savor this one, and peel away its layers slowly.
BUY IT?: Yes.
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