Riverdogs California cd review




























July the 7th sees the release on Frontiers Records Srl of the Riverdogs fifth album California.

Riverdogs formed in Los Angeles at the end of the 80’s, when flashy, glitzy hard rock ruled the day, but they were determined to avoid clich├ęs and adopted an original sounding blues rock style. Vivian Campbell of Sweet Savage, Dio, and Whitesnake fame at the time (soon to join and become a long-standing member of Def Leppard and later, founding member of Last In Line as well) was initially brought on board to produce the band's first demo, but was so impressed with the band that he actually became a member and played on the debut album. Soon after the release, Marc Danzeisen (drums) joined Rob Lamothe ( vocals and guitar), Nick Brophy (bass) and Vivian to complete the line-up.

The unfortunate and age old story of change of personnel at their record label came about and eventually led the band members to go their own ways, with Campbell settling into the Def Leppard line up and Nick Brophy becoming a respected engineer and producer. Riverdogs, with a reformed line-up, released two more records in 1993, "Bone" and "Absolutely Live", before going on an extended hiatus. They reconvened, with the original line-up, in 2003 to record new material and play a few reunion shows. Those new songs were recorded as demos, but only completed in the studio in 2011 when their last album, “World Gone Mad” was released.

Now, six years after their last studio album California is upon us and from the moment I pressed play I have been hooked.Perfect summer album played with the roof down with 11 songs full of wonderful soulful vocals and Viv being set free to show us what a guitar hero he is.So under used in Def Leppard as Phil Collen's understudy here he shows he is adapt at every style from all out shredding to delightful melodic picking and his tone is superb through out along side Rob's breathless vocal which is stunning.What a combination.

American Dream kicks the album off in great style with an all out rocker with it's hey hey refrain and Viv's add libbing guitar breaks throughout always melodic and showing his fiery side too.Rob's vocal is urgent with a great chorus and the song is driven hard by Marc's power house drum style and Viv's mid song solo sits in at just under a minute.Not just how many notes he can play but hitting a measured urgency and just so fantastic to see him letting go.In the outro the chorus becomes the focus with Viv again hitting more soloing under the hey hey refrain.Will be a monster in the live setting.
The Revolution Starts Tonight sees the pace dip but increases at the chorus as Viv hits some big riffs alongside Rob's vocal.The verse sees Rob's vocal taking time to accentuate every word with that breathless style.Another peach of a guitar solo from Viv and the great production on the album lets you hear every instrument from Rob's acoustic guitar to Rob's bass.The outro sees Viv soloing under and over Rob's vocal and they compliment each other so well.

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Something Inside is an acoustic led mid tempo stop start riff track with Rob's vocal at the heart of it.He holds onto some lengthy notes  and then during the second verse Viv really lets go with some superb short sharp soloing that makes you think yes and puts a huge smile on my face.
Golden Glow does exactly that with it's lazy acoustic refrain that builds to the chorus talking of a Golden Glow California afternoon.Yes please.
You're Too Rock N'Roll from a quiet beginning builds up to a wonderful chorus and then dips into the second verse before again exploding on the chorus with Marc again driving the song to new heights.
The Heart Is A Mindless Bird is a stunning track from an acoustic start with Rob's superb soulful emotion filled vocal.Mid song it fires up as Viv starts a lengthy solo all picked notes alongside Rob's vocal before it dips again.Then all of a sudden Viv plays a heavy riff and the song just goes off on a tangent with Marc thrashing his kit into submission with Viv shredding to his hearts content.Blimey from it's soft start you would never guess the second half of the song and live it will stun.Brilliant.
Searching For A New Signal is just under 3 minutes of short sharp insistent riffing and Marc on drums again starring as the song thrashes along.Viv adds melodic guitar textures through out and Rob's vocal is urgent and the mid song guitar solo has a part that you makes you think you haven't heard Viv sound like that since his early Dio days.
Welcome To The New Disaster sees acoustic and electric guitars collide with Rob's vocal at the heart of a song with a heartbeat taken off the pace.Viv again add's guitar flourishes never over doing it only adding to the song's textures.
Ten Thousand Reasons is a dreamy acoustic led number that shows off the band's sense of dynamics superbly especially as Viv's guitar solo explodes from no where and takes the song off into a place you didn't expect.
Catalina is a mid paced number with Viv's guitar riff dipping in and out and another superb chorus with Rob holding notes for added effect.Mid song band dynamics then Viv's solo explodes from the speakers.I so hope we get the chance to see these songs in the live setting.
I Don't Know Anything finishes the album with an acoustic and electric strummed intro and Rob's bluesy vocal.Great chorus and a Viv added guitar melody with a dream like feel.The album ends on a Viv solo over the band work out bringing to the end one of 2017's finext moments.

In March Frontiers treated us to 3 albums (Eclipse,Night Ranger and One Desire) that will be in many peoples best of's come the end of the year and now we can add Riverdogs to that list.

Superb.
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