Did anyone else get fatigued by two-piece bands a couple of years back? It seemed like you couldn’t move for some new duo cropping up, latching onto the heels of The Graveltones and Royal Blood. Because essentially that’s what every two-piece sounded like.
Rival Bones have come at the right time with their eponymous EP, after the surge and the fatigue has passed. As soon as the opening riff of “Want You Madly” kicks in, you know you’re dealing with something completely different. This band means business. Instead of copying the other two basic two-piece ideas, Rival Bones have made something new.
It’s fuzzy, loud, distorted, dripping with attitude and a hunger which can only be produced by a new, young band. When Chris Thomason (drums) and James Whitehouse (guitar and vocals) are in full-flow, you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s not double their number playing the music. It manages to lull you into a false sense of security because at no point do you find yourself clamouring for bass, instead the groove-laden riffs and thundering drums make up for the lack of it.
The goose-step riff of the afore-mentioned “Want You Madly” is built for sweaty clubs and arenas alike. You can just imagine ten thousand people harmonising with Whitehouse’s “Na-na-na na na-na” and the muscular riff chugs along with the assuredness of a steam locomotive.
“Hives” is loaded with venom during the chorus, experimenting in areas and you could imagine an extended jam version of it being played on a stage. You could almost imagine this as an early noughties Foo Fighters track infused with a stoner vibe at its more sombre moments.
Somehow the duo have managed to combine blues, sludge, grunge, stoner and given it the swagger of hard rock to flavour it to perfection. Imagine arena rock on steroids and you’re just about there. With sixteen minutes of material spread across four tracks, it leaves you begging for more.
Rival Bones have created a virtually perfect EP. It doesn’t outstay its welcome yet leaves you desperate for more. Couple the musicianship on offer from the pair and a solid sound, they’ve made something not only fresh and unique for two-pieces but for all bands. More raucous than student night on Sauchiehall Street and oodles more substance than many other two-piece acts, they’ve planted their flag to remind people that less can be more.
Rival Bones is out now