The Revivalists bring back that old time Rock ‘n’ Roll

Jacob Jones, Staff Writer

Rating: 4.5 Vinyl records out of 5


For many Americans, there tends to be a yearning for that nostalgic, down-home southern rock sound—not the sound that you’ll find yourself hearing in a grocery store ten years later, but that sentimental, true-to-its-roots southern authenticity that doesn’t try to please everyone but succeeds in rocking your socks off; it simply brings you back to that warm, worry-free place in the midst of a brutal winter. The type of sound that melts the snow, raises the humidity, and sets out a cool class of lemonade is just what many people want to hear (can you tell I’m writing this in the winter?) but are stuck looking to the past for such fulfillment.

While this southern rock sound has recently been largely been missing from the scene in today’s music—Kings of Leon came and went and Kid Rock, well, is Kid Rock—theNew Orleans-based band The Revivalists’ new LP, Vital Signs, is exactly what is needed to revive and breathe life in the genre.

First thing first when discussing the new LP—these guys can seriously jam with the best of them. Perhaps best seen in “Catching Fireflies” or “Hurricanes Winslow,” The Revivalists can dish out some psychedelic jam sessions with enough warm, southern flavor that stay true to their sound, but still go outside the boundaries with groove inducing effects and powerfully driving drums (see “Don’t Get Caught Up”).

That being said, the band can also take things quite smoothly in the other direction, delivering some slow tempo, nostalgic tracks that deliver a well-placed break in between thejam sessions. Tracks like “Straw Man” and “Two-Ton Wrecking Ball” deliver an acoustic and mellowed out sound, especially with the saxophone that really adds another level of depth to the otherwise slower tracks.

The Revivalists are not shy to mix up the sounds on the album, and every track has a very individual aspect to it. From the ska influence heard on “Appreciate Me II” or the faster paced twang delivered on “Appreciate Me I,” the sound is never boring or formulaic. The standout single on the album “Catching Fireflies” borrows from Skynard himself, and will succeed to run chills down your spine while drenching you in nostalgia and a lightheartedness that will satisfy your soul.

The vocal range is also something to be mentioned, as the style of lead vocalist David Shaw blends an early nineties grunge sound (think Chris Cornell and Rob Thomas combined) with authentic southern influences that clearly identify him as an extraordinarily talented front man for the genre.

Overall, enough good things can’t be said about Vital Signs. The album is a must-have for almost anyone, fan of the genre or not, because it has serious appeal. As much as it pains me to compare them to the Kings of Leon due to the immense difference in originality, authenticity, and skill, anyone who is a fan of KOL (which, due to their pop success, is quite a few) will have to grab this album.

So check out The Revivalists on MySpace or your preferred music medium, turn on “Catching Fireflies,” and proceed to watch the icicles on your window melt like popsicles.