The Rightovers – Album Review
“…Holmes’ lyrics sing of an easy drive through a Utah highway, spinning vinyls…”
At first listen the 10-song LP release Blue Blood from The Rightovers is an easy piece of music to get on board with. Within an 8 second intro, as the first track “Valerie” scratches into your speakers, you know this album will take you to a warmer place; a back porch, a swing with your toes in the sand, where everything bears a soft tint of yellow. After that first hook a simple, melodic beat and even vocals take you through “Valerie” and bring you to my favorite track on the album. Already you want to take this album out of your Monday-night kitchen and into Saturday’s backyard bonfire.
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Throughout my initial run through the album I was distracted, but immediately perked up as track two, “Canyon Country”, sang through my laptop. Not paying any attention to track names, I jotted down a sentence or two about how the even-tempered rhythm made me want to drive along the California coast, hands out the window and sun over the Pacific. I glanced up at the title and found it more than fitting. A verse of slow synth vocals opens up to a guitar melody that continues through the rest of the track. The unrushed beat, and lead singer Chris Holmes’ effortlessly consistent voice accompanied by female backup provides the perfect backdrop to any summer. Holmes’ lyrics sing of an easy drive through a Utah highway, spinning vinyls, the occasional drug reference and go back and forth with the female vocals on hopefully doing those things together. My attraction to the uncomplicated makes it a wonderful accompaniment to my summer.
This is obviously a personal album for Holmes, which we see in even the most obvious ways. Any rock star needs it to be known that he is just that. Track four, “I’m So Famous I’m F*cked”, lets us in on the friendships in his life and what it might have looked like before any of us caught wind of his artistry. Personally, I really enjoy the easy nature of this song and the honesty in the lyrics. It (Holmes) doesn’t try to be anything it can’t justify. Like I said, it’s honest, open and remains hopeful despite lyrics that suggest otherwise.
This wouldn’t be a complete review if I didn’t call out the few interludes of non-lyric, non-instrumental intros. I mentioned that the first track “Valerie” catches your interest within the first 8 seconds. Track five, “My Trebly Underground”, does the same with a brief interruption of interview dialogue ending with chatter saying, “I am old and normal and have sold out.” This is so obviously a contradiction to everything these west coast artists stand for. The Rightovers are confident and steady in the themes of their music and this short dialogue drives it home for anyone who may have had a doubt.
As you get further into the album, starting with track 8, “We Can Run a Piper’s Lament”, there seems to be a shift from recent years’ west coast, to 1960s London. Blatant psychedelic rock appears, but not quite as a surprise. We are clued in throughout the album, either through lyrics or brief riffs that retro themes are occurring or are to occur. My first listen through track 9, “Floating Near the Sun”, I wrote a note to myself along the lines of “beach Goth goes cosmic a la Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. It is just that.
If I have to compare The Rightovers to a band within my alternative rock vocabulary, I can’t help but bring up The Growlers. The Growlers is another west coast band that relies on synth vocals and continuous, even paced beats. Neither of the bands’ lyrics are too heavy and both musical groups attach themselves to specific sounds and lyrical themes, without fear of being put into only one box.
I really enjoyed The Rightovers album and wholeheartedly encourage you to give theme listen when Blue Blood is released July 31.
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