Release Date: July 7, 2017
Riverdogs have been an on again/ off again band since 1989 when they made a mild splash due to the involvement of Vivian Campbell. Campbell was ex-DIO, and would, of course, go on to be part of multi-platinum rockers Def Leppard. California is their first release since 2011 and it’s an even-keeled album full of lead guitar, sharp melodies, and memorable choruses. If that’s not your thing, you may as well stop reading now.
My personal favorite here is “The Revolution Starts Tonight.” The song presents itself with wah-wah guitar pieces and soft vocals but has that big soaring chorus that anyone who lived through the eighties will immediately be drawn to. The guitar work is so dynamic on this one that it keeps me coming back over and over. There is just so much going on within the song. It’s absolutely masterful.
The more rockin’ “Searching for a Signal” is another excellent moment. It’s more aggressive and moves at a faster clip, though the vocal keeps it grounded in Rock and Roll, but, man oh man, that guitar riff is awesome and the soloing is as classic as it gets. The little Beatles-esque interlude gives it some depth as well and is entirely unexpected. It’s a great contrast to its bluesy follow-up, “Welcome to the New Disaster,” where the vocals lead the charge. The laid back “I Don’t Know Anything” takes the album out on a gentler note. Though it does have its louder moments, it plays like an intimate ballad and, again, like the rest of the album, the guitar work here is phenomenal.
I’ve said it before and I ‘ll say it again, there is no label better than Frontiers when it comes to recognizing the brilliance of bands that were a little behind the commercial trend the first time. Riverdogs brilliantly resurrect themselves here, much like we have seen from Tyketto, Hardline, and Harem Scarem in the last decade. If you like musicality, melody, and radio-friendly Rock then you should check out California. Riverdogs deliver the goods here in every way.
Reviewed by mark1340