It could be said that Rival Sons are one of the most creative, currently active bands. Their fusion of blues, jazz, funk and anything they fancy trying their hand at ensures they always stand out from the crowd. Not being content with just a single record in a year, Rival Sons opted to deliver fans a double whammy of pure rock goodness, starting with June’s Darkfighter and culminating with October’s Lightbringer. Darkfighter itself was a triumph for the group, but Lightbringer, well, it saw its predecessor, threw more chips on the table and raised fully in the knowledge it would trump Darfighter’s already exceptional hand.
The opening track, “Darkfighter,” itself is eight minutes plus of everything that makes Rival Sons special. It’s quite hard to describe that throughout the tune, there is barely much consistency, with moments of melancholy followed by periods of levity with every emotion music can bring in between. Its chaotic nature feels like the quartet had no planned structure, just a vision, went into the studio, hit record and just jammed. It encapsulates everything Rival Sons has ever produced into one long masterpiece and could very well be considered the magnum opus of their entire library. By the track’s climax, it would be easy to have the impression of hearing at least half the album. However, it is still just the start!
Next up is the enticing “Mercy.” Scott Holiday’s simple yet enchanting distorted guitar frames the track and introduces a song that has Southern charm oozing throughout. Jay Buchanan’s lyrics touch your soul in a way that is indescribable; it is just a talent he has. The emotions get higher with “Redemption” as Buchanan paints a vivid picture that can be interpreted as you wish. The track is slow-paced but also epic in nature, demonstrating how varied Rival Sons can be. As with every track on the album, Holiday emanates heat with every finger-licking riff.
Closing this short but incredibly sweet record is the beautifully tragic yet uplifting “Mosaic.” There are moments when Buchanan wanders into the realms of spoken word style lyrics. Whilst every song on this album is a crowd-pleaser in the making, if only one could be chosen, it would be “Mosaic.”
Whilst Lightbringer has despondent aspects to it, the record is designed to make you feel such emotions to ensure it can then bring the light. It is an exceptional addition to the band’s catalogue, with tunes that will become part of set lists and personal playlists for years to come. It is short, sweet and excellence personified!
Lightbringer Track Listing:
4. Sweet Life
5. Before the Fire
Run Time: 33:28
Record label: Atlantic
Release Date: October 20, 2023