In my mom’s basement—like countless other basements, attics, and garages across the country—are at least a dozen milk crates full of dusty old vinyl rock albums—Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Bad Company, and so on. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that I pulled Rival Sons‘ album Pressure & Time straight out of one of those milk crates. But no, Pressure & Time did not come out in 1972. It came out yesterday, and it proves that rock doesn’t have to be more than 30-years-old to be classic.
Rival Sons aren’t going to score high marks for originality with Pressure & Time, as each track makes you think of some other band. The blistering, fuzzbox-heavy opener “All Over the Road” evokes thoughts of Foghat. That leads into the band doing their best Doors impression on “Young Love.” Other tracks call to mind Zeppelin, Creedance Clearwater Revival, and Cream. It might be easy be to write off Rival Sons as an unoriginal tribute act cutting tracks that sound like throwaways from the Dazed and Confused soundtrack. Except that the tunes on Pressure & Time don’t sound like throwaways, but like songs that genuinely belong on Wooderson’s eight-track. What Rival Sons lack in originality, they make up for with brilliant execution, capturing about a decade of music history in 30 brief minutes.
If what you’re looking for is the “next big thing” or a band that is going to dramatically change the rock’n'roll landscape, you can take a pass on Rival Sons. Pressure & Time is not an album you’ll think of as an important contribution to the rock canon. But don’t let “important” be confused with “worthwhile.” Pressure & Time is a totally enjoyable listen that might make you wish you grew up in the early 70s, when music this bad-ass was the norm.