Red Dog Revival
Get What You Want
Red Dog Revival = Max Pain and the Groovies + Deep Purple
The first thing to notice about this album is that it sounds like it was recorded during a performance rather than in a studio. Through the endless progression of different guitar riffs and instrumental breakdowns, there is a consistent energy that keeps your attention. It has a minimalistic vigor that isn’t dumbed down by over-equalizing the treble, but also has a high enough production quality that makes it as easy to listen to as any record. The two opening tracks, “Call up the Devil” and “Get What You Want,” provide an open welcome that immediately introduces intricate jams, and a high level of instrumental technicality can only rightly be called progressive rock.
The same two tracks also introduce the record’s theme of songs blending into each other. It’s a gimmick that I frankly think bands could use a lot more of, and it’s pleasing to see Red Dog Revival do it so well here. They don’t implement it in every track transition but they do it enough to remain aesthetically fulfilling. “So Hard” and “Crazy” keep up the psychedelic blues with more guitar licks and loud snare pops. They keep the album driving with the same upward velocity that made everyone fall in love with those early ‘70s concept albums. However, “Crazy” has such a drive and backbeat that it starts to prematurely edge into hardcore music before it digresses and returns to the blues pattern it began with. The album knows what its initial progressive goal is, but that doesn’t stop it from laying a few surprises in the track list.
The most surprising track by far is “Burn On.” Coming out of a Deep Purple blues orientation, the track slips in a ska influence that, although seemingly a bit out of place, feels right at home. It doesn’t let down on the same energy that the record consistently pushes and it gives it a curve that pulls the other tracks away from the initial goal and into something that feels fresh as well as nostalgic. The final track, “When Love Becomes War,” becomes the best song on the release. You realize that the entire record is vitalized here and that it is where everything comes together. Not only are the melodies executed so well, also, the four-minute outro track also allows the band to flex their muscles and really show off. The riffs here are as nasty as they are complicated. Although it is the final track, it doesn’t let up quite yet and wants to finish strong. By the end of this record, you realize a solid effort has been made and that progressive rock isn’t dead. Psychedelia and concept albums still have a lot more to say and still have room to say it. –Austin Doty