The last time I saw Adam Oldfield gracing the stage it was leading a band that wouldn’t have seemed out of place cruising sunset strip in the mid eighties. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great band but it was easily categorized and music is much more interesting when it eludes such easy placement and pigeonholing. That’s what makes Rival Pilots such a much more exciting prospect.
Okay, there are some easily identifiable building blocks, there always will be but they are ones with a modern sheen in evidence. The rock foundation it is built on is remarkably cliché free, not something that you come across much these days, neither does it conform to any fickle fashion dictate that pepper our largely conformist music era. Opening track Dance is the perfect reassurance that the band understands melody, and then some, a gene splicing of pop sensibilities with rock drive that shows that urgency and aggression can happily co-exist with groove and accessibility.
A more soaring dynamic starts creeping in by the halfway point, I, The Cuckold leaves the downtown city lights behind and heads off into the night down a desert highway as they throw in a stoner-rock vibe before tipping their hat to a more Seattle/Portland sound with Barnstormer a song which twists and turns bristling with sass and imagination.
This is the sound of the west country, but not the one that they call home, that other, more western continent, and manages to take on board everything from the rain swept grunge of the PNW through the more established rock moves of West Hollywood past and present and the wasted psychedelia that pervades as you head into the desert.
As a heads up to inform people that this new band is entering the fray, it is the perfect calling card, now I just need to catch the live show.