When an EP like The Riven’s Blackbird drops into my inbox, I’m immediately curious. Citing influences like Graveyard, Blues Pills and 70s hard rock; it’s right up my alley. Then add in the description of them being all about “raw, soulful heavy rock with lots of hot sauce and cheap beer”, I’m hitting play before I finish reading about it. Though they can keep the cheap beer…
Possessing a real retro sound, it’s a throwback to a simpler time yet takes cues from the afore-mentioned modern bands carving out the same niche alongside bands like Rival Sons. You can hear all of that baked into the music alongside Deep Purple in their grooves and The Doors during their psychedelic moments.
Fuzzy and bluesy, Charlotta Ekebergh’s soulful and sultry voice makes for a fitting companion to the musical backdrop. Arnau Diaz’s guitar squeals at every given chance, changing and evolving with the song. Imagine if The Ministry of Silly Walks was a piece of music, this would be it. Despite the blues and psychedelic tones, the band makes it heavy, gritty and loaded with swagger.
Diaz’s guitar plays off well against Max Ternebring’s bass work, riffs and grooves working in synchronicity to bring something bombastic to your ears. While Ekebergh does have a great voice, it’s the guys slinging the six and four strings which pull you in. However, such is the overall quality of the music that the twenty four minutes of old school heavy rock is over in a flash.
Passion is baked into the recording and is apparent during its heavy and sombre moments. Marrying both sides of their sound is title track “Blackbird” and while not as epic as the Alter Bridge song of the same name, it’s loaded with their own brand of might. Psychedelic, groove-y, bluesy, gritty and heavy, it does everything in one song that The Riven set out to do without becoming over-encumbered.
There’s a massive gap in 2017 for bands like The Riven and the few that are around are taking what is rightfully theirs. With the old guard of this sound long gone, the modern retro rock sound could be the most unexpected – yet welcome – comeback we didn’t know we wanted.