Riverdogs – California (2017) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Riverdogs – California (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 47:41 minutes | 587 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Frontiers Music s.r.l

The self titled debut album from Riverdogs was criminally overlooked. Released in 1990, it often makes lists of “albums you might not have heard of but should own”. Yes, I made that list up, but you get the picture. Musical climates were a-changing as grunge was beginning to take shape and suffocate hair metal. Riverdogs were neither. The band, featuring renowned guitarist Vivian Campbell, played a soulful brand of blues rock that wouldn’t sound out of place now, but back then, the genre wasn’t as popular to the mass market. Anyway, Campbell soon joined Def Leppard, and Riverdogs was put on the back burner. Campbell can play the guitar, that’s for sure. His work with Sweet Savage and, of course, Dio proved this. Joining Def Leppard gave him a bigger stage to play on, but limited his playing. No need for shredding or long solos in Leppard. When he formed the Dio side-project, Last In Line, it reminded audiences of exactly how good a player Campbell is. Watching him on stage, playing the songs that first made him famous, it was obvious how much he missed letting fly. So, alongside his stints with Def Leppard and Last In Line, Campbell has also got Riverdogs back together for a brand new studio album, the first in six years. Truthfully, I doubt that you’ll hear one musician having as much fun on an album as Campbell is having on ‘California’. With no disrespect intended at all to his day job in Leppard, this is the sound of a guitarist breaking free of his shackles.

With the original line up of Campbell, vocalist Rob Lamothe, bassist Nick Brophy, and drummer Marc Danzeisen, Riverdogs have returned to the sound that should have stood them in good stead back in 1990. Lamothe has a smooth, clean, and powerful voice, well suited to this style of music. In places, he reminds me of Don Henley of Eagles (‘The Revolution Starts Tonight’). The effortlessly cool vibe that the band produce on ‘California’ is tailor made for an American west coast summer, and with that comes the comparisons to Henley and Co. Campbell wastes little time in flexing his muscles, as opener ‘American Dream’ features some delicious solos mixed with a healthy dash of melody. This continues throughout the album, and you would be a fool not to pick up on his joy. For instance, ‘The Revolution Starts Tonight’ features delightful wah wah effects, and the slower, bluesier ‘Something Inside’ has a cool Paul Kossoff thread running through it. Lamothe’s vocals are both joyous and heartfelt. The songs seem deeply personal, best exemplified by ‘Golden Glow’, which is a perfect few minutes of modern American rock.  ‘Searching For A Signal’ and ‘Catalina’ are catchy and uptempo, but when the band slow it down a bit, the songs take on extra life. ‘The Heart Is A Mindless Bird’, ‘Welcome To The New Disaster’, and ‘Ten Thousand Reasons’, all give the band the chance to stretch out. The latter, in particular, is a prime example of four guys enjoying playing together again. Let’s hope that we don’t have to wait quite as long for the next album.

01. American Dream
02. The Revolution Starts Tonight
03. Something Inside
04. Golden Glow
05. You’re Too Rock and Roll
06. The Heart Is a Mindless Bird
07. Searching for a Signal
08. Welcome to the New Disaster
09. Ten Thousand Reasons
10. Catalina
11. I Don’t Know Anything