Thursday, June 29, 2017

Album Review: Riverdogs - California

Let's get this out of the way early; I don't like Vivian Campbell. Never have, probably never will. There has never been a Def Leppard song I like, his attempt to resurrect DIO with The Last In Line was pretty bad, and if I'm being honest, I prefer the DIO albums with Craig Goldy anyway. So it doesn't get me the leeast bit excited that another band of Viv's is back from hibernation. I don't get the appeal of the guy, so I'm not going to be one of those people running to praise anything he does just because it's him. Even though the early DIO albums are good, I don't really put very much of the credit in Viv's hands. He's always been a second fiddle, which makes anything where he's the star a hard swallow.

This time, we get an album of hard rock that veers a bit more towards being bluesy, instead of glam or metal. Really though, you aren't going to hear that much of a difference. All the projects are built from the same basic structure, just with slightly adjusted guitar tones to make them 'unique'.

One of the things that's disappointing about this album is that, when it's done right, bluesy hard rock can have some of the biggest, most swaggering riffs of all. But that's not the case here. Viv and his cohorts stick with the more generic approaches to the music. There really isn't anything, guitar-wise, here that would pique anyone's interest. Viv is a big enough name that you would think you should be able to pick out great Viv moments, but I would never have known he was in this band if it hadn't been plastered on the promotional materials. Viv, at least for twenty-five years, has been a completely anonymous guitar player.

Even that would be forgivable if the rest of the band was helping to deliver songs that transcend their generic nature. Unfortunately, that's not what we get here. These songs don't have interesting riffs, nor rhythms, nor melodies either. Rob Lamothe has a nice voice, but few of his melodies have any energy behind them. "Golden Glow" is a fine enough song, but it's so laid-back you can almost hear him doing the vocals at three in the morning when all he wants to do is go home and go to bed.

Bluesy rock, when done well, can be phenomenal. Bluesy rock, when door poorly, is among the most boring of genres. This album falls closer to the latter category. It's not terrible music, but it never makes an argument for its own existence. It feels like a band going through the motions of making a record. As long as it's been since the last Riverdogs album, I would expect that if they reunited it was because of their passion for the music. I can't hear any of that on this album. "California" is a tepid collection of songs that has no new tricks up its sleeve, and doesn't pull off the old ones very well. It's another Vivian Campbell disappointment, which is exactly what I was expecting.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chris....find another job or listen to the right do not have any idea of what you're talking about. Get a life...!!